Nova Scotia leaders make final pitch for votes ahead of Tuesday's election
Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, accompanied by his son Jeffrey, left, makes a campaign stop in Halifax on Oct. 7, 2013. The Nova Scotia election is on Tuesday. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, October 7, 2013 2:09PM EDT
HALIFAX -- The leaders of Nova Scotia's three main political parties focused their final pitch to undecided voters on the final full day of campaigning before Tuesday's provincial election.
Two of the leaders began their day Monday in seat-rich Halifax, a bastion of NDP support in recent years, before fanning out across the province to visit key battleground ridings.
"There's no question there is a huge volume of seats here in metro and we need to be part of that, we need to win some of those seats," said Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil at one campaign stop in the city, urging party workers to speak with disaffected NDP and Progressive Conservative supporters.
"I would ask you to forget about the traditional way families have voted and the way communities have voted. Reach out and ask everyone you see for their support."
He implored Nova Scotians who have yet to make up their minds to examine whether each party's promises are feasible, repeating his message that the campaign is about trust.
"I would encourage them to look at all three parties and determine for themselves which platform is doable, which party can they trust and which leader can they trust to deliver on the commitments we've made over the last 30 days," he said.
McNeil, whose commitments include less government spending and a cut to the harmonized sales tax as long as the books are balanced, is wrapping up a three-day tour where he is aiming to visit all but a handful of the province's 51 ridings before ballots are cast.
NDP Premier Darrell Dexter also set his sights on undecided voters as he toured the province's south shore before visiting Halifax.
"There are an unusually high number of undecided voters in this election and obviously they're going to be making up their minds today," Dexter said during a stop in Chester Bain. "This is a phenomenon we've seen in many other elections as well."
He said voters should give the NDP a second chance after four years in power because he wants to continue the progress the province has made, citing the federal shipbuilding contract, a balanced budget and fewer emergency room closures as his government's achievements.
"We have a strong program we have articulated over the course of the campaign," he said. "They know they can rely on us to build on this strong foundation. They also understand the risk that comes with Mr. McNeil and the Liberals, which is essentially throwing away what we have and starting over."
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie travelled to his hometown of Truro, where he agreed there was a large group of undecided voters across the province.
But he said voters have decided on one thing: it's time to get rid of the governing NDP.
"They're now looking at the two choices they have, the PCs and the Liberals," Baillie said, repeating a theme he has relied on for much of the campaign. "That's why I wanted to make it clear today that there's a very stark choice between those two."
Baillie, whose main promises include frozen power rates and tax cuts, said his party is offering the province a brighter future with more jobs, while the Liberals are saying little, hoping to coast to victory without anyone noticing.
"The Liberals have been ... sleepwalking through an election, hoping nobody notices that they don't have a plan of their own," Baillie said.
"They've spent the entire time criticizing and attacking me and our plan and Mr. Dexter and his plan. Nova Scotians are going to reject that approach. At the end of the day, I believe that we have hope and change on our side."
He stood outside the Stanfield's plant, which has been making underwear and other clothing for more than 130 years.
"Since I was a little boy, I've never worn any other product than Stanfield's," he said.
"In fact, I'm wearing my Stanfield's today. As we like to say in Truro, nothing comes between me and my Stanfield's."
The NDP held a 31-seat majority in the legislature when the election was called, followed by the Liberals with 12 and the Tories with seven.