Nova Scotia Tories launch election campaign with promise to heal wounds

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Nova Scotia Tories launch election campaign with promise to heal wounds

PC Leader Jamie Baillie painted himself as the antidote to "the wounds" left by Stephen McNeil's Liberals as he pitched himself as Nova Scotia's next premier.

The Progressive Conservatives launched their election campaign in Dartmouth at a rally at Nova Scotia Community College's Akerley campus Saturday morning.

The event was held one day ahead of an anticipated election call on Sunday.

'We've seen his arrogance'

"We've had four years of Stephen McNeil. We've seen his anger. We've seen his arrogance … leadership matters," Baillie told the crowd of about 250 candidates and supporters, who were packed into half of the college's gym.

The provincial Tory leader spoke of the Liberals fractious relationship with labour groups and said people without family doctors, teachers and the film industry "know what bad leadership is."

"[McNeil's] been pulling this province apart and we have the scars to show for it ... this election is about healing the wounds," Baillie said. "You don't turn to the person who made the mess to clean up the mess."

People waved signs with slogans "Vision, Action, Baillie" as the former CEO of Credit Union Atlantic greeted supporters.

He walked in to Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass" — the lyrics alluding to a movement that's popped up in the lead-up to the campaign that aims to defeat the Liberals.

'Tired of being told we're broke"

Baillie accused McNeil of "plotting" an election with a "damage-control" budget that won't make it through the legislature when an election is called.

He said if McNeil doesn't have confidence in the budget, why should Nova Scotians. 

Banning the term 'have-not province' would be the governing PC party's first bill, he said to cheers.

"I am so tired of being told we're broke, I'm so tired of being told that we can't afford the things we want," he said. 

Fixed election dates 

The PC platform wasn't unveiled at the rally. Baillie said they're planning several announcements related to the economy in the coming days. 

He told reporters in his first term he would repeal a controversial piece of legislation that imposed a contract on teachers. He also said he would restore vocational training in schools.

Baillie began his speech by taking a crack at a misspelling in a recent mock-up of a Liberal election ad. He also chided McNeil for flip-flopping on his support of instituting fixed dates for elections, something he promised to institute within the first six months in office. 

Baillie made a flub of his own when he told the crowd the next election would be Oct. 30. Party members later clarified to CBC he meant May 30.

A similar PC election rally was being held Saturday in Sydney.

The NDP launched its election platform last Sunday.