Spoiler alert! Provincial election called for May 30

Biggest surprise of the year announced on Sunday as premier Stephen McNeil drops writ.

click to enlarge The premier greets his fans. - VIA FACEBOOK
The premier greets his fans.

To the shock of literally no one, Nova Scotia’s next general election was announced on Sunday.

Premier Stephen McNeil finally ripped off the Band-Aid and asked Lieutenant Governor J. J. Grant to dissolve the legislature, ending months of speculation and confirming Nova Scotians will head to the polls on Tuesday, May 30.

"I encourage all Nova Scotians to exercise their democratic right to vote," wrote the premier in a brief press release announcing the election.

The news was leaked—twice—by McNeil’s own party ahead of Sunday’s meeting. On Friday a campaign ad, accidentally released, announced the May 30 date while promising to “buld” a better Nova Scotia. Liberal Agriculture minister Keith Colwell added to the discourse earlier this morning by mentioning the election on Facebook before the premier’s trip to Government House.

After announcing the news, the Liberals held a campaign rally at the Lebanese Cultural Centre in Halifax, during which the party promised to continue the work its done over the past four years.

“We need to be returned to government by Nova Scotians so we can deliver a tax cut to the middle class and those who need it most,” wrote McNeil in a subsequent press release. “And we need to continue our work so that we can embark on the largest infrastructure investment in recent history—one that will improve our roads and create thousands of jobs.”

The governing party was oddly enough the last off the line for campaign launches—coming a day after the Progressive Conservatives and a week after the NDP. On Saturday, opposition leader Jamie Baillie told a crowd at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Akerley campus that a visionless Liberal government has held Nova Scotia back.

“Only the Progressive Conservative Party has the plan to allow Nova Scotia to stand proudly on its own two feet again,” said Baillie. “I have faith in our people and confidence in our future...I believe in my plan because I believe in Nova Scotia.”

The NDP, meanwhile, promised at last week's campaign launch to institute a $15-per-hour minimum wage, cap class sizes and provide free community college tuition if elected.

“This election presents a clear choice for the people of Nova Scotia,” writes NDP leader Gary Burrill in a release sent out on Sunday. “Do they want four more years of being told what we can’t do with cuts and claw-backs from the McNeil Liberals, or do they want an NDP government that is ready to listen and work together to make the necessary investments in our people?”

Burrill will be the only leader out of Nova Scotia’s three main political parties not running as an incumbent. He’ll be looking to earn his seat in Halifax Chebucto against Liberal MLA Joachim Stroink and PC challenger John Wesley Chisholm.

The battle over the next four weeks will mostly be fought on the McNeil government’s track record. To the Liberals’ favour, the party has produced two budgets in a row showing a surplus. But that austerity has been tarnished with protests over film industry cuts, imposed labour union contracts and political decisions of questionable fiscal value.

As it stands, the Liberals have 34 seats at Province House, the PCs 10 and the NDP five. There’s one independent MLA (Andrew Younger) and one vacant seat—formerly occupied by NDP MLA Marian Mancini, who is not re-offering.

The election announcement also came the same weekend Nova Scotia’s Green Party held its annual general meeting at Dalhousie University. Leader Thomas Trappenberg hasn’t yet announced where he'll be running.

More info on how to register to vote can be found with Elections Nova Scotia. Below you can also watch a time-lapse video Elections NS shot today of supplies being shipped out of the warehouse to every electoral district in the province.

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