Premier Stephen McNeil announces date for Halifax Needham byelection
Published Saturday, July 30, 2016 10:50AM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, July 30, 2016 6:54PM ADT
The premier of Nova Scotia has announced a byelection in the Halifax Needham riding.
In a statement Saturday, Stephen McNeil says the election will take place Aug. 30.
“There's going to be municipal elections this fall, those campaigns will start after Labour Day,” said McNeil. “We looked at Labour Day and began working backwards. As you know, general elections have to be held on a Tuesday."
In April, longtime Halifax Needham MLA Maureen MacDonald announced she was retiring after serving as a member of the Nova Scotia legislature for 18 years.
The veteran New Democrat was first elected to the seat, which represents much of Halifax's north-end district, in 1998.
Elections Nova Scotia says in a statement it expects all five registered parties will nominate candidates to contest the seat.
The agency says Rodney Wilson of the provincial Liberal party has registered as a candidate.
The Progressive Conservative caucus has also put forward a candidate.
Andy Arsenault will carry the party's banner in the Halifax Needham race.
The Official Opposition party says Arsenault, a former RCMP officer, will be making safety concerns a key component of his campaign.
“The film industry here in Nova Scotia, the crisis in mental health, what the Liberals tried to do to the senior pharmacare program," said Progressive Conservative campaign co-chair Janet Fryday Dorey.
The New Democrats are backing Lisa Roberts, a journalist and community organizer, to replace MacDonald.
"Okay, let's do this!" Roberts tweeted shortly after Saturday's announcement.
Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill says social issues will be at the forefront for Roberts.
“We know that there are over 1,500 in HRM, for affordable, rent-geared-to-income housing, almost 1,000 of them are seniors," said Burrill.
The local Liberal committee knew the election call was coming. They had the campaign signs up within a couple hours of this morning's announcement."
But Premier McNeil says issues of an election this fall didn’t come from him.
“This fall will be three years for me,” he said. “I hadn't thought about calling a fall election – that was spurred on by many of you."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw and The Canadian Press.