Nova Scotia enters the summer election as Prime Minister Iain Rankin demands a vote for August 17th

Rankin was put on the defensive earlier this month after revealing that as a young man he had been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2003 and was charged again in 2005, although he was cleared in the latter case.

Article content

Nova Scotia Prime Minister Iain Rankin has called for a provincial election by August 17, saying the campaign will focus on building the economy after the province “crushed” the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advertising

Article content

“This province is in a crucial moment and we must continue to make the right decisions for workers, for seniors, for families and for all Nova Scotians,” Rankin said Saturday after visiting Lt. Gov. Arthur LeBlanc to dissolve the legislature.

“This election is about how best to position the province for a strong economic recovery, one that focuses on investment in infrastructure, green technology and renewable energy.”

Rankin, 38, is hoping to secure the third election in a row for the Liberal Party after being sworn in as prime minister less than five months ago and replacing Stephen McNeil.

Advertising

Article content

He took office before Nova Scotia – the only province without a fixed election date – entered the third wave. In late April, as COVID-19 infections increased in the Halifax area, Rankin imposed tough lockdown measures and closed the province’s borders. As with two previous lockdowns, Nova Scotians followed the rules and case numbers dropped rapidly.

“We are at the point now that we have crushed the third wave,” Rankin said, adding that he is convinced that holding an election is safe and he plans to campaign door to door. Asked why he launched a campaign in the middle of the summer, when many voters’ thoughts are elsewhere, he simply said, “It’s time.”
Also on Saturday, progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston launched his party’s campaign, saying “poor judgment and weak leadership” by Rankin’s Liberals make them ill-suited for the job of leading the province.

Advertising

Article content

Like the Liberals, the Conservatives planned to strengthen the economy in the wake of the pandemic, and Houston said he is particularly focused on using economic growth to address the province’s health care system that precedes the pandemic.

When he went into the campaign, Houston said he was working on a platform of solutions, not of “political promises,” which will be revealed next week.
“We have the team, we are the only party where all the established companies return, and we have the most diverse slate of candidates the party has ever had,” Houston said.

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill waves to supporters after winning his seat after Nova Scotia provincial election in Halifax, NS in May 2017
Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill waves to supporters after winning his seat after Nova Scotia provincial election in Halifax, NS in May 2017 Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

NPD leader Gary Burrill said during a rally on Saturday that the party plans to release its full platform on Sunday, and a full list of candidates will follow soon.
Burrill was also asked about his inclusion in the August election, saying the party has spent time preparing for the possibility of a dissolved government.
“We have no hand in it, we have no responsibility for it. All we have been able to do is be ready for it, ”said Burrill. “We have concentrated all our cognitive calories to be able to respond to their call.”

Advertising

Article content

The party plans to focus on issues affecting “real life,” Burrill said, and is still critical of Rankin’s plan to cut $ 209 million from the budget as it could affect health care spending.

A survey of 1,200 adult voters in May suggested Nova Scotians were impressed with how Rankin handled his first real challenge as Liberal prime minister, which he handled with the help of Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s popular health chief. The vote, published June 3 by Narrative Research, placed the Liberals far ahead in the election campaign.

With a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, the survey found that 52 percent of determined voters said they would vote for the Liberals. The progressive conservatives stood at 24 percent, the NDP was at 19 percent and the Green Party had five percent.

Advertising

Article content

Any provincial or territorial government in Canada that has sought re-election since the onset of the March 2020 pandemic has won. This includes governments of New Brunswick, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Yukon.

Despite their lead in the polls, the Nova Scotia Liberals face some challenges, not least the fact that many members of the Liberal Party have chosen not to stand for re-election, including seven former Councils of Ministers and the former Prime Minister. , McNeil.

Likewise, Rankin was put on the defensive earlier this month after revealing that as a young man he had been convicted of drunk driving in 2003 and charged again in 2005, although he was cleared in the latter case.

Advertising

Article content

In the ensuing days, the prime minister apologized for the bad choices he made in his 20s, saying he regretted that alcohol was once “a big part” of his life. “I was very, very sad to have been somewhere in my life a long time ago where I made mistakes,” Rankin said Saturday, adding that the Nova Scotians he meets are more interested in talking about the future.

Tim Houston speaks to reporters at Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party leadership conference in Halifax in October 2018.
Tim Houston speaks to reporters at Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party leadership conference in Halifax in October 2018. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS / Ted Pritchard

Houston acknowledged that he believes the Liberals will benefit from launching a campaign as the province emerges from a tough shutdown.

“Iain has called the election because he thinks it suits him,” he said Saturday. “Nova Scotians decide if it’s appropriate.”

Houston, a 51-year-old chartered accountant who has led the stories since October 2018, has argued that the county should focus on getting the population fully vaccinated rather than electoral culture. This will be Houston’s first choice as leader.

Advertising

Article content

His party has taken a hard line on the alcohol driving problem, repeatedly saying that Rankin misled Nova Scotians by downplaying the incident in 2005, resulting in a reduced driving license, which was later overturned on appeal.

Nova Scotians will decide if it is appropriate

Meanwhile, Burrill, a 65-year-old minister from United Church who has led the party since February 2016, is contesting his second election as leader.
The last time the Liberals won three or more elections in a row was in the 1930s and 1940s, when they won six elections in a row. The Tories won three or more consecutive elections between 1978 and 1988 and again between 1999 and 2006.

The Liberals entered the fifth year of their current term in May and have been reduced to a minority in the legislature following the resignation of members. Upon dissolution, the 24 of the 51 seats, followed by the progressive Conservatives led by Houston with 17, had the new Democrats under Burrill with five. There were three independent and two vacancies.

The campaign will include races in 55 runs because the province last year decided to revive four “protected” sites in districts where the government wants to increase the participation and representation of Acadians and African-Nova Scotians.

Advertising

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on adjusting your email settings.

Leave a Comment

x