N.S. election launches, NDP releases party vision

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill took to the podium to launch the party's 10-year plan for the province that would include permanent rent control and paid sick days, as the province entered the second day of the election campaign.

Burrill released the so-called "vision document" outlining the party's plan for Nova Scotia in the event of a New Democrat victory during the event Sunday.

A traditional platform will be released in the coming days, he said. The NDP is the first party to release such a document, however, since the province's 41st general election began Saturday.

"People say, 'The trouble is that politics just moves in a four-year cycle and nobody ever looks really forward,' " he said. "The path is something better by addressing the real needs of real people in their real lives, particularly as these needs have come front and centre" over the last 18 months, he said.

Though the party has yet to release any dollar amounts associated with its plan, Burrill did break down the costs of improving access to mental health care in the province. The NDP's vision document includes a plan to provide same-day and next-day mental health care and Burrill said the project should cost $5.4 million a year in capital with operating costs of $4 million annually.

The upcoming election marks only the third time an August general election has been called in Nova Scotia since it joined the Canadian Confederation in 1867.

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin dissolved the government Saturday after weeks of speculation about a summer election.

Rankin, Burrill and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston all hit the pavement to canvas Sunday.

In 2017, then-Liberal leader and premier Stephen McNeil won a narrow majority government with 27 seats, while the Conservatives won 17 seats and the NDP snagged seven seats in the House of Assembly.

Rankin took over the role of premier in February, just before the province entered the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At dissolution Saturday, the Liberals had a minority government and held 24 of the 51 seats, followed by the Progressive Conservatives led by Houston with 17 and the New Democrats under Burrill with five. There were three Independents and two vacancies.

The campaign will feature races in 55 ridings because the province decided last year to revive four "protected" seats in districts where the government wants to increase the participation and representation of Acadians and African-Nova Scotians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 18, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press

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