Jamie Baillie's former riding up for grabs in June byelection

Voters in Cumberland South will go to the polls on June 19 to fill a vacancy created last January when former PC Leader Jamie Baillie suddenly and unexpectedly resigned.

Former Tory leader held Cumberland South for almost eight years

Jamie Baillie, the former leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, was forced to step down in January. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Premier Stephen McNeil has chosen June 19 as the date voters in the constituency of Cumberland South will choose their next provincial representative.

The seat had been held by former Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie for almost eight years. He first won the seat in a byelection in 2010

But in January Baillie was forced to resign following an investigation into his behaviour — after someone approached the party with allegations he had acted inappropriately. Party officials refused to discuss the details of their internal investigation.

McNeil said the byelection was called for June so campaigning could be finished before people started their summer.

McNeil heads to Springhill

The Liberal leader is hoping his party's standard bearer, Scott Lockhart, will have more success than Kenny John Jackson, the Liberal candidate in last May's general election. Jackson finished second to Baillie by 757 votes.

"We had 40 percent of the vote in that campaign and I think you're obviously running against a leader," McNeil told reporters in Halifax, before heading to Springhill to campaign with Lockhard. "[It] was a good showing of support for our candidate, for our party.

"This is an opportunity for the people of Cumberland South to elect someone who will be sitting at the caucus table of the governing party."

In recent weeks the governing party has promised a new school in the riding, along with a long-awaited bridge replacement near Amherst. A news release issued by local Liberal campaign organizers highlighted those two pre-byelection announcements.

"Knowing the Rainbow Bridge will be replaced, and that Springhill will receive a brand new elementary school is positive news that the community has rallied around," said a news release from the local campaign.

'It's rooted in a kind of cynicism'

NDP Leader Gary Burrill was unimpressed with the Liberal message.

"This is an approach to politics in Nova Scotia that is very old, that is not very attractive," he said. "It's not very compelling.

"It's rooted in a kind of cynicism. I think people are at a place where they're looking for something more hopeful, something with a little more character and integrity about it."

The NDP candidate in the race is Larry Duchesne, who garnered 398 votes or six percent of the overall ballots in May 2017.

Tory Rushton is running for the Progressive Conservatives.

People in Cumberland South will have plenty of opportunity to decide who they want to represent them. A continuous poll will open on Monday at the returning office, which will be set up at the Royal Canadian Legion in Springhill.

An advanced poll will be held in Parrsboro for seven days from Saturday, June 9, to Saturday, June 16, except Sunday. Community polls will be held in Brookdale and Wentworth Centre on Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16.