With the provincial election just around the corner, Nova Scotians will decide Tuesday if Stephen MacNeil and the Liberals will remain in power, or if PC leader Jamie Baillie or NDP leader Gary Burrill can take the reigns as Nova Scotia’s premier.
The following are five ridings to keep an eye on which could impact the May 30 election.
With incumbent Andrew Younger not re-offering in the Dartmouth East riding, this will be one to watch on election night. Younger was elected under the Liberals in 2009, but most recently sat as an independent after he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus in 2015. This is also the riding where New Democrat candidate Bill McEwan has stepped down after inappropriate social media comments surfaced. His name will remain on the ballot because the nomination deadline had passed at the time the comments came into the spotlight.
The Liberal candidate for the riding is Edgar Burns. Burns has had prior work with the Liberals, working in the offices of MPs Geoff Regan and Andy Fillmore.
The Progressive Conservative candidate is Tim Halman. Halman is a teacher at Prince Andrew High School. He has won an award for engaging youth in politics.
The riding was formed prior to the 2013 election, with Liberal candidate Ben Jessome elected as part of the Liberal sweep in the HRM in 2013. But Jessome will be facing some competition on Tuesday, with Halifax city councillor Matt Whitman running in the riding for the Progressive Conservatives. Could this be a breakthrough for the PC party to gain a seat in Halifax?
Paul McGuinness is running for the NDP. McGuinness has served on the local Ratepayers Association Board. Jessica Alexander is the candidate for the Green Party. Alexander is the deputy leader of the Green Party in Nova Scotia.
Both the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives both elected members in the former riding of Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.
Clayton Park West
Also a newly formed riding prior to the 2013 election, Clayton Park West is will be riding to watch as long-time Liberal MLA Diana Whalen is not re-offering in the riding.
The Liberals are hoping to keep the seat with long-time party volunteer Rafah DiCostanzo running for the seat. The Progressive Conservatives are hoping candidate Paul Kimball, a film writer and producer can snag the seat. The New Democrats are running community volunteer Rana Zaman in hopes to snag the seat.
There is also something unique about this riding. Atlantica Party leader Jonathan Dean and Green Party leader Thomas Trappenberg are both running in the riding. Dean co-founded the Atlantica Party after “becoming frustrated with the lack of vision and political will guiding Nova Scotia,” according the party’s website. Trappenberg is a computer science professor at Dalhousie University. Trappenberg has ran in prior provincial and federal elections under the green stripe.
Halifax Chebucto will be a key riding to watch on election night, as NDP leader Gary Burrill is hoping to earn a seat in the legislature, and take the seat back from the Liberals.
Liberal candidate Joachim Stroink snagged the seat from the traditionally NDP riding in 2013, winning the seat by just under one-thousand votes. Stroink is up against the NDP leader and United Church minister Gary Burrill. The PC candidate is John Wesley Chisholm, a TV producer. The Green Party candidate is Casey Meijer.
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River
Lenore Zann and the NDP are hoping to hold on to this small riding surrounded by a sea of blue and red, but Zann may face some tough competition.
Zann was first elected in the riding in 2009. Prior to politics, Zann was an actor and writer in the film and TV industry. Zann has been vocal about issues such as childcare, the film tax credit, and recently the teachers dispute. PC candidate Keltie Jones is hoping to earn the seat for the party. Jones also ran for mayor in Truro losing by just 45 votes, and is the Assistant Dean at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus. Craig Johnson is running for the Liberal party, and is the executive director of the Colchester East Hants Hospice Society.
This riding will make for an interesting election night – prior to Zann’s two NDP victories, the riding was a Progressive Conservative stronghold since 1978. The riding has only elected a Liberal candidate once since then.