NDP Leader Gary Burrill, right, is seen chatting with Inverness candidate Joanna Clark on July 16 in Port Hastings, as they begun to hit the campaign trail, a day before the writ was officially dropped.

STRAIT AREA: For the second time since 2003, the province will have a summer election.

Premier Iain Rankin officially dropped the writ on July 17, after meeting with Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc to dissolve the legislature, and following a 30 day campaign Nova Scotians will go to the polls on Aug. 17.

“Voting is an important way for people to help shape the future of their communities,” Premier Rankin said in a written statement. “I hope Nova Scotians come out to exercise their democratic right and have their voices heard.”

Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place at all in-person voting locations, and prior to Election Day, voters in Nova Scotia can vote at any returning office or early voting location in the province; they can also apply on-line to vote by mail using a write-in ballot.

In Antigonish, Liberal incumbent Randy Delorey, who is the current attorney general and minister of justice has reoffered and is facing off against Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate Michelle Thompson, who is the CEO of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home, and Moriag Macgillivray, a freelance writer who finished third in votes with the NDP in the previous election.

“The pandemic exposed a lot of the holes in our current system, especially in the care economy – healthcare, long-term care, home care, mental healthcare, childcare,” Macgillivray said in a release. “Strong investments in care not only make us resilient in the face of crises, they also create good, non-polluting jobs and boost our local economies. As just one example, affordable and reliable childcare enables young parents, especially women, to re-enter the workforce.”

After an electoral map re-design, the riding of Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, which had an area of 5,267 square kilometres has been reduced by 17.8 per cent; the new riding of Guysborough-Tracadie is now 4,332 square kilometres.

Liberal incumbent Lloyd Hines, who is the minister of transportation and active transit told The Reporter, the old riding, which was the largest riding in Nova Scotia, was almost the same square area as the entire province of Prince Edward Island.

“The new riding is smaller and essentially drops off eastern Halifax County, which is something I was lobbying for,” Hines said. “We dropped all that eastern section of Halifax County, which we had no real community of interest with anyway.”

He will be running against PC candidate Greg Morrow, who was the news director at 101.5 The Hawk; the NDP have yet to nominate a candidate in Guysborough-Tracadie, but a spokesperson for the party indicates they plan to do so before the election.

Across the causeway in Inverness, two political newcomers including Liberal candidate Damian MacInnis, who is the president of Colindale Business Solutions and the NDP’s Joanna Clark, who is a young mother and teacher, will be vying for the seat against PC incumbent Allan MacMaster, who is the current opposition house leader.

After the electoral boundaries were re-drawn, the Town of Port Hawkesbury has since become part of the provincial riding of Inverness.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is essential that Inverness retains a strong voice in Halifax, one that advocates at every turn for the people and interests of this region,” MacMaster said in a release. “Keeping local healthcare strong and ensuring our economy has the communications and transportation infrastructure it needs to recover from the pandemic, are key for our future in the constituency of Inverness.”

After being re-instated as a historical Acadian riding, Richmond, which has an area of 1,308 square kilometres and cuts off at the Fourchu line was reduced 27.1 per cent from the former Cape Breton-Richmond riding which had a total of 1,795 square kilometres.

In the race for the newly re-instated seat are Liberal candidate Matt Haley, a coordinator of operations for the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP), chiropractor and former Port Hawkesbury town councillor Trevor Boudreau is carrying the PC banner, the NDP announced Bryson Syliboy, a two-spirit Mi’kmaq originally from the Sipekne’katik First Nation as their candidate, and finally rounding out the race is Independent incumbent Alana Paon, who was removed from the PC caucus in 2019.

“The writ has been dropped and many people have been asking me if I’m going to be running in the next election, and I’ve given it a lot of thought – and I am,” Paon said in a video posted to her Facebook page. “I’m now moving into campaign-mode – I’ve officially switched from MLA-mode to candidate-mode – it’s rather freeing; going out talking to people all throughout Richmond County.”

Nadine Bernard, who is originally from We’koqma’q First Nation, was announced as the Liberal candidate for Victoria-The Lakes, making her the first Indigenous women chosen as a provincial candidate.

Both Bernard and Syliboy could make history if elected, as they would become the province’s first Mi’kmaq MLA; Syliboy additionally would also be the first two-spirit MLA.

“It’s an honour really to be able to represent my Nation as a potential MLA,” Syliboy told The Reporter. “Representation matters and it’s important to show that.”