Another strong indication that Premier Stephen McNeil will soon be sending Nova Scotians to the polls is promotional material obtained by CBC News that says May 30 will be election day.
The advertisement was uploaded to a section of the Liberal Party's website that is not public facing.
The ad shows a relaxed-looking McNeil in an open-collared shirt posed next to the slogan "Bulding on a Stronger Nova Scotia." Building is misspelled but the image carries a second message: "On May 30th vote Liberal."
A videotaped, minute-long advertisement was also uploaded to the Liberal Party's YouTube channel. It was viewable on Friday, but quickly became unavailable.
"I know it hasn't always been easy. But we're stronger now than we were four years ago," McNeil says in the ad, wearing the same clothing as the other promotional material.
"So let's keep building on a province with opportunity for everyone. Let's keep building on a stronger Nova Scotia, together."
The ad ends with another voice: "On May 30th, vote Liberal."
'A mock-up of an ad'
The premier refused to confirm the election date when questioned by reporters on his way to a reception in honour of J.J. Grant, the outgoing lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia.
"You saw an ad that was a mock-up of an ad," he told reporters. "I wouldn't read too much into it. As you could tell it didn't even go through spellcheck."
"There's a number of stuff that obviously the campaign has been doing but I wouldn't read too much into it."
Asked to confirm the date of the vote, McNeil suggested the May 30 date was only one of a number being contemplated.
"Well there was a number of dates, some in and around now. Some are much later in the year."
Campaign must be minimum of 30 days
Nova Scotia's election law states that the minimum length for a campaign is 30 days. McNeil has repeatedly said he is going home to Upper Granville, N.S., for the weekend, but has refused to say whether he will return to Halifax to call the election.
If McNeil were to visit with Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant on Sunday to ask him to dissolve the current House, the May 30 vote would come exactly 30 days later, within the prescribed minimum campaign length.
Opposition Leader Jamie Baillie said the campaign material gaffe wasn't funny.
"This is what happens when a premier concocts a scenario where he pretends it's a real budget and he's really been plotting for an election all along," the PC MLA said Friday.
The budget — and any other bills currently before the House — will die on the order paper when the House is dissolved and the election campaign starts.