HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's premier did his best to laugh off a gaffe apparently revealing the provincial election date, after a campaign video was posted to the Liberal party's website Friday.
The video, which was quickly taken down, showed Premier Stephen McNeil next to a campaign slogan and the message "on May 30th vote Liberal."
It is the strongest hint yet that an election will be called in the coming days, although McNeil refused to confirm anything.
"You saw an ad that was a mock-up of an ad, I wouldn't read too much into it," McNeil told reporters at the legislature.
"As you can tell it didn't go through the spell check or anything. There is a number of stuff the campaign is doing, but I wouldn't read too much into it."
The campaign video also misspells the party's slogan — "Building on a Stronger Nova Scotia" — spelling it as "Bulding."
The Elections Nova Scotia website says an election period is "not less than 30 days" from the date the writ drops.
The Liberal government would have to call an election by this Sunday in order for Nova Scotians to go to the polls May 30.
On the heels of a weeks-long spending spree, the provincial government tabled a balanced budget Thursday, further fuelling speculation that an election is around the corner.
Still, McNeil chose to remain coy when asked whether he was denying there was going to be an election on May 30.
"There will be an election at some point in the future and I'm looking forward to that," said McNeil, who added he would be spending his Saturday night at a church dinner in his home riding.
McNeil was again asked whether someone had jumped the gun and pre-empted an announcement that is usually made by the premier.
"Well there's no campaign," he laughed.
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said he didn't see what happened as being funny.
Baillie said the episode looks bad on the government, and how it has handled the run-up to what seems to be an imminent election call.
"It just shows that we've got to get away from this style of leadership where you pretend you're presenting a real budget and really you are planning an election," he said. "That's why I've been in favour of fixed election dates and this is probably the strongest argument yet."
Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada without a fixed election date.
Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press