Nova Scotia·Nova Scotia Votes

With nomination deadline 1 week away, N.S. parties seek candidates

In this instalment of CBC's Election Notebook: The window for nominating candidates closes in a week and the parties talk highway tolls and rent control.

With 55 ridings in Nova Scotia, the major parties have some holes to fill

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

It's Day 5 of Nova Scotia's 31-day election campaign.

7 days to nomination deadline

Elections Nova Scotia will close nominations at 2 p.m. AT on July 28, which means candidates have one week left to get their names on the ballot.

There are 55 ridings in Nova Scotia and the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats all have a few holes left in their slates. The Green Party has about half the province covered, with 28 candidates. The status of the Atlantica Party's slate is a question mark — Leader Jonathan Dean told CBC News Tuesday he was "still firming up that number."

Dean's party sent an email to members this week asking anyone interested in running to step up "ASAP."

"We are looking for more people to run as candidates in the current election, either actually running or simply running on paper (a "paper candidate")," the email read.

Dean said he wouldn't expect "paper candidates" to campaign. Rather, they would simply put their names on the ballot.

Dean said he intends to run in Cumberland South.

Burrill on rent control

On Tuesday, NDP Leader Gary Burrill shared a seat at a picnic table with his party's candidate in Halifax Needham, Suzy Hansen, to talk about rent control, a major plank in the party's platform.

The two were joined by actor and composer Garry Williams, who told reporters he is currently living in an apartment that is costing him way too much in rent. He said the more than $1,900 they pay monthly to keep a roof over their heads eats up much of what they make.

"Currently, it's well over half," said Williams. "I work in the arts, theatre and music. At the best of times, that's not well-paid, nor is it regular pay.

"So it's really unnerving to know that I don't have a regular monthly income, but have to pay a large percentage of it, even if I'm between theatre jobs."

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill, left, along with Halifax Needham candidate Suzy Hansen and area resident Garry Williams, talk about housing issues at a campaign stop in Halifax on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Hansen said high rents have been a hot topic on the doorstep.

"It's huge," she said. "I must have knocked on maybe 2,000 doors and I'd say out of that 2,000, 1,700 of those doors are all about affordable housing and about being pushed out of their community.

"It's a huge deal for a number of Halifax Needham residents."

Her leader drew a sharp contrast between his stance and that of the other party leaders.

"We have thousands of people who, when the state of emergency ends, are about to be forced out of their homes and somebody had better put the brakes on this," said Burrill. "[Liberal Leader] Iain Rankin and [PC Leader] Tim Houston have said 'We are not moved by this problem.'

"We are saying we are very moved by it and we intend to address it with permanent rent control."

Rankin and Houston have both said in recent days they believe the solution to the housing crisis is building more private housing stock — not rent control.

Houston on buying local

Houston revealed the second of what he said will be three pillars of his party's economic platform. The first, announced last week, is a tax return program for companies that raise employee wages.

The second is a rewards program for shoppers who buy local products. Shoppers would use a card or app to gather points worth 10 per cent of local food items and three per cent of local non-food items. Houston said he expects a PC government would pay out $26 million annually to participants of the program, which he dubbed "Nova Scotia Loyal."

Nova Scotia maple syrup is labelled on grocery store shelves as a local product. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Houston said his economic platform is all in service of health care.

"As an accountant, I know that fixing health care means we need more money. More money is dependent on more people earning more money.

"You've already heard about our better paycheque guarantee, which will increase the wages of the working families of this province ... Now, today, we're talking about the another pillar to that, which is more people earning more money and spending it locally."

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston announces a program that would reward shoppers for buying participating local products at a campaign event in Halifax on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Houston spent part of his time at Tuesday's announcement defending his party's pick for the riding of Annapolis, who came into the limelight this week over a three-year-old Facebook post in which she complained about cyclists and said she wished she could get away with running them over.

Rankin on highway tolls

The Liberals repeated a 2017 campaign promise on Tuesday: to eliminate the tolls on the Cobequid Pass. Rankin said if his party forms government, Nova Scotia passenger vehicles will no longer have to pay them starting Oct. 1.

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin speaks to reporters in Amherst, N.S., with a line of protesters picketing behind him. (Robert Short/CBC)

Wednesday's agenda

  • PC Leader Tim Houston will make a policy announcement in Halifax
  • NDP Leader Gary Burrill will make a policy announcement in Halifax.
  • Liberal Leader Iain Rankin will make an infrastructure announcement in Antigonish.

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 will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. AT.

More information on voting is available from

Check in tomorrow for the next instalment of the Election Notebook, and follow all of 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

With files from Jean Laroche