Nova Scotia's next provincial election is scheduled for 2025, but parties are lining up candidates now

Under the province's fixed election date, Nova Scotians are scheduled to go to the polls on July 15, 2025. (CBC - image credit)
Under the province's fixed election date, Nova Scotians are scheduled to go to the polls on July 15, 2025. (CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia's fixed election date calls for voters to go to the polls on July 15, 2025, but the three major political parties are already lining up candidates.

The Progressive Conservatives started nominating incumbents in recent weeks, including Premier Tim Houston, Municipal Affairs Minister John Lohr, Justice Minister Barb Adams and Sackville-Uniacke MLA Brad Johns.

Tara Miller, campaign co-chair for the Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia, said the party is aiming to get its incumbents nominated before turning attention to districts the Tories do not represent. So far, 14 incumbents have been nominated to run again.

"We've had unprecedented interest in other ridings that we don't hold across the province, people who want to run under the Tim Houston government," she said.

Not a sign of an early election call

News releases from the Tories follow similar formats, highlighting government spending in the respective districts and talking about efforts to hire more health-care workers, the recent move to index tax brackets, and the creation of a grant to help eligible seniors cover their costs.

The release about Johns's nomination does not mention his time as justice minister, which ended abruptly in April following controversial comments he made about domestic violence.

Miller said lining up candidates more than a year before the fixed election date follows a similar approach the party used before the last provincial election to ensure it was ready for whenever the writ dropped, and doesn't mean people will head to the polls early.

"Fifty-five seats doesn't happen overnight," she said, referring to the number of electoral districts in the province.

"There's a lot of people power that goes into the whole process, and if there is a contested nomination, of course there's more work that goes into that."

Opposition parties encouraged by response

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill said he expects Houston to live up to the commitment of a fixed election date, but his party has also started nominating candidates.

So far, the Liberals have announced candidates in the districts of Argyle, Halifax Chebucto and Hants West.

"We want to be prepared and make sure that we have people in place in the event that the premier does break his word and goes early," said Churchill.

A poll this week from Narrative Research shows the Tories continue to hold a commanding lead among decided voters, but Churchill said people are approaching the Liberals who are "very excited to run."

"They're not happy with the record of the current government and they want to be part of a team that's really going to be focused on making the province more affordable for people, whether it's fixed-income seniors, a working family or a young person that's coming up and trying to build a life here."

NDP to nominate first candidate this month

Jamie Masse, provincial director for the Nova Scotia NDP, said the party will have its first nomination toward the end of the month.

Like Churchill, he said the NDP hopes the premier adheres to the fixed election date, but they'll be ready whenever an election is called.

"We're three years into a government's mandate. This is about the time we would start normally nominating candidates for a fixed date or not, and if we have to move faster because they call it earlier, then we will."

Masse said the party is recruiting candidates but also seeing people come to them with "a great enthusiasm" for the party and its leader, Claudia Chender.

"I'm very keen about the different names that are coming forward," he said. "It's been very exciting."