Following quite a lot of new spending bulletins, it appears to be like like Nova Scotia’s 41st common election may very well be on the horizon.
“I think we’re poised for an election very soon,” Tom Urbaniak, a political science professor at Cape Breton University, instructed Global News.
“I would not be at all surprised if there is an election call late summer for an election day in September.”
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin took workplace in February following the resignation of former premier Stephen McNeil.
Since then, the previous Lands and Forestry minister has turn out to be a well-recognized face for many Nova Scotians as he took half in common COVID-19 briefings alongside chief medical officer of well being Dr. Robert Strang.
Nova Scotia’s subsequent Premier faces looming election name
While the Liberal chief hasn’t had a lot time in workplace, Urbaniak stated his visibility is an asset.
“He hasn’t had the chance to show his management style or to hone his skills across policy issues and sectors, but he is enjoying a profile advantage, especially during the COVID crisis,” he stated, noting the profiles of the 2 opposition occasion leaders have been “very low” throughout this time.
“With the House (of Assembly) not sitting, of course, they don’t have the opportunity for that cut and thrust we’d normally see in the parliamentary debate,” he stated.
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Despite its relative success in protecting COVID-19 numbers low, Nova Scotia’s legislature was the one one within the nation that didn’t meet throughout a lot of the pandemic, solely returning for its full first sitting in March 2021 below a brand new digital hybrid mannequin.
The new premier should name an election by spring of 2022, however all indicators level to a name a lot earlier than that.
One of the largest clues is the inflow of latest spending bulletins from the provincial authorities.
Between Monday and Friday final week, there have been 5 spending bulletins, totaling greater than $21 million. The premier can be scheduled to make two extra bulletins in Cape Breton on Saturday and one other in New Minas on Monday.
While the largest dedication final week was $18.2 million to spice up tourism this summer time, the opposite bulletins largely targeted on transportation and infrastructure, together with $1.1 million introduced Friday for planning a brand new commuter ferry in Bedford.
Other bulletins in current weeks embody investments in inexpensive housing, college upgrades and assist for small companies.
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Urbaniak expects to see some extra “good news announcements” within the coming weeks.
“Then at some point, the calculation would be made, I think, that now is as good a time as any (to call the election),” he stated.
As nicely, with talks of a federal election probably occurring this fall, Urbaniak stated that may make it extra probably for the provincial election to be known as earlier than that.
“Premier Rankin will not want overlap with the federal election if he can avoid it,” he stated.
“The scheduling of the federal election will not take the Nova Scotia situation into account, but certainly, Premier Rankin will take the federal situation into account.”
Advantages and downsides
While Rankin remains to be new to the premier seat, Urbaniak identified that Nova Scotia has had a Liberal authorities for the final eight years, so that will be an benefit for him.
Urbaniak additionally expects the occasion to play up Rankin’s dealing with of the pandemic, particularly after efficiently bringing new day by day case numbers down from the triple-digits the province noticed within the spring.
“We’ve seen that to some extent already. The Liberal party has been buying front-page newspaper ads and it has been taking credit for decisions made at the Public Health level, at the bureaucratic level,” he stated.
“That shows that yes, they will try to mine the outcome of the COVID crisis to their advantage.”
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However, he stated there are “weak spots” the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP can level to, together with the dealing with of COVID-19 in lengthy-time period care and the truth that the province had a 3rd wave to start with, when the opposite Atlantic provinces largely managed to keep away from one.
“So the opposition parties do have a narrative that they can go with, even if the debate focuses during the election campaign on the COVID crisis,” he stated.
While polling numbers are trying favorable for the Liberals — with the most recent Angus Reid poll giving the occasion an eight-level lead over the Progressive Conservatives — Urbaniak stated these numbers can change shortly and ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
“Polling numbers change, sometimes dramatically, during the course of an election campaign because that’s when the public is most focused on politics,” he stated.
Opposition ‘forced to be at the ready’
The Liberal occasion presently has 45 out of 55 candidates in place for the subsequent election, whereas the Progressive Conservatives have 41 and the NDP has 38.
In a press release, Progressive Conservative chief Tim Houston stated the premier ought to be targeted on COVID-19 slightly than “campaigning with millions of dollars of taxpayers money.”
“The last time the Premier lost focus, Nova Scotians got hit with a deadly third wave,” the official Opposition chief stated.
“Now is not the time for the Premier to lose focus again. It is our hope that the Premier does not try to call an election while Nova Scotians are still locked down under a State of Emergency.”
Houston stated that the place Nova Scotia is the one province with out mounted election dates, “the opposition parties are forced to be at the ready.”
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NDP chief Gary Burrill agreed, saying in a press release that with out mounted election dates, “the Liberals can call it when they think is best for them.”
Burrill stated he was involved by Rankin’s plan to chop $209 million in subsequent 12 months’s funds — with out saying the place — and apprehensive it might result in decreased spending in well being care.
“People in Nova Scotia have worked hard to keep COVID-19 at bay for the last 18 months. They shouldn’t have to face massive cuts just as things are starting to look up,” he stated.
Urbaniak stated he’s “of two minds” in the case of mounted election dates, mentioning that whereas they do permit a while for events to arrange, they are often “unduly constraining.”
“If we had had a fixed election date law, we would have had an election right in the middle of the third wave of COVID,” he stated.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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