Nova Scotia·Nova Scotia Votes

Party messages take shape in the first weekend of N.S. election campaign

In this instalment of CBC's Election Notebook: how the campaigns kicked off and how the slates of candidates are shaping up.

Liberals, Tories and NDP all launched campaigns Saturday shortly after election call

Welcome to the first instalment of CBC's Election Notebook, your source for regular updates and essential news from the campaign trail.

The speculation is finally over and the campaign for Nova Scotia's 41st general election has begun.

Today is Day 3 of the 31-day campaign. Votes will be counted on Aug. 17.

In case you missed it, the election period began on Saturday morning with Liberal Leader Iain Rankin's visit to Government House where he asked Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc to dissolve the House of Assembly

How the leaders kicked off their campaigns

Leaders of all three major parties spent the weekend in and around Halifax making the first of what are likely to be many public appearances and stump speeches at campaign events.

Speaking to reporters outside Government House, Rankin gave the broad strokes of his vision for a third Liberal mandate.

"This is about the economy and how we can recover strongly in a progressive way that is more sustainable and more inclusive … we clearly see the interaction with the economy, equity and the environment."

Liberal Party Leader Iain Rankin walks through the Halifax Brewery Market alongside his wife, Mary Chisholm. He made an appearance at the market shortly after the election was called Saturday morning. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

On Saturday evening, the Timberlea-Prospect MLA held a drive-in rally for the party faithful in the Halifax Exhibition Centre parking lot. He said he'll be revealing five core platform planks in the weeks ahead.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill kicked off his party's campaign outside his headquarters just off Quinpool Road in Halifax. Burrill, the MLA for Halifax Chebucto since 2017, delivered a speech about the importance of permanent rent control, access to mental health care and an "uncompromising" approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

"Real people, real lives, and what is needed in real people's real lives, are gonna be placed at the real front and centre of every decision that's made for the next four years in Nova Scotia. That's what's gonna happen if the NDP is elected," Burrill said.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill gives a speech, backed by supporters, at his party's campaign launch on Saturday. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

On Sunday, Burrill held another event where he unveiled a 62-page vision document, which lays out the full scope of the NDP's plans with a 10-year outlook.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston travelled into Halifax from his riding of Pictou East to kick off his party's campaign at Dalhousie University, where he quickly made his priorities clear. 

"There is one question to be answered in this election: who can actually fix health care?"

The Tories started laying out their plans to rework the health-care system last summer; Houston said the rest of his fully costed campaign platform will be released this week.

PC Leader Tim Houston steps off his campaign bus, which is adorned with his image and the party's campaign slogan, 'Solutions for Nova Scotians.' (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Slates still in the making

As of Monday, no party had a full slate of candidates, but they have until the afternoon of July 28 to submit their final nominations.

All three major parties have candidates for more than 90 per cent of the province's 55 ridings. The Green Party has nominated 23 candidates. Two incumbent MLAs have declared their intention to run as Independents — former Tories Alana Paon and Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin

The Liberals lost a candidate on the first day of the campaign, just one day after her nomination was announced. Robyn Ingraham, a barber shop owner and briefly the candidate for Dartmouth South, wrote in an Instagram post that she dropped out to protect her mental health.

She alluded to people taking issue with her face and hand tattoos, and modelling photos. When asked by reporters Sunday, Rankin said the decision was entirely Ingraham's.

Highlights from Monday's agenda

Announcements are coming from the PCs, the NDP and the Liberals:

  • Claudia Chender, the NDP candidate for Dartmouth South, will make an announcement about health care at the home of one of her constituents at 10 a.m.
  • Rankin will make an announcement about economic growth and clean tech innovation at the den Haan Greenhouses in Lawrencetown (the Annapolis Valley one) at 10 a.m.
  • Houston is hosting a news conference at 10 a.m. in downtown Halifax.
A ballot is dropped into a box in this file photo. Ballots will be counted in Nova Scotia on Aug. 17. (CBC)

How to vote

Check whether you are registered to vote with Elections Nova Scotia

Once registered, you can vote in advance of election day by requesting a mail-in ballot or by visiting a returning office or advance polling station in your electoral district. 

On election day, polling stations are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More information on voting is available from

Check in tomorrow for the next instalment of the Election Notebook, and follow all CBC's election coverage at


Taryn Grant


Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter and web writer for CBC Nova Scotia. You can email her with tips and feedback at