Politics of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is a parliamentary democracy. Its legislature consists of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and fifty-one members representing their electoral districts in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.[1] As Canada's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of Nova Scotia's chief executive government. Her duties in Nova Scotia are carried out by the Lieutenant-Governor, Arthur LeBlanc. The government is headed by the Premier, Stephen McNeil, who took office October 22, 2013. Halifax is home to the House of Assembly and Lieutenant-Governor. The House of Assembly has met in Halifax at Province House since 1819.[2]


The first general assembly in Nova Scotia sat in May, 1758, making it the oldest in Canada.[1][3]

Of the registered voters in 2017, 53.4% voted. Voter turnout has decreased from 82% turnout in 1960.[4]

From Confederation to World War I

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia (1867-1916) - seats won by party
Government Anti Confederation Liberal Con Liberal

From 1920 to 1967

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia (1920-1967) - seats won by party
Government Liberal Con Liberal PC
   Progressive Conservative81324273940
   United Farmers6
   Cooperative Commonwealth Federation322211

From 1970 to present

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia (1970-2017) - seats won by party
Government Liberal PC Liberal PC NDP Liberal
   Progressive Conservative211231374228914302523101117
   New Democrat2341323191115203177
   Cape Breton Labour111

Nova Scotia elected minority governments in the 2006, 2003, and 1998. The Progressive Conservative government of John Hamm, and later Rodney MacDonald, required the support of the New Democratic Party or Liberal Party after the election in 2003.

The Liberal party won both the October 8th, 2013 and most recent provincial election on May 30, 2017, each with a majority government.[5] Prior to that, the election on June 9, 2009 was won by the NDP party for the first time ever. They captured a majority with 31 seats to 11 for the Liberals and 10 for the PC Party.[6] The election on June 13, 2006 elected 23 Progressive Conservatives, 20 New Democrats and 9 Liberals, leaving Nova Scotia with a Progressive Conservative minority government.[7]

In 2006/07, the Province passed a budget of $6.9 billion, with a projected $72 million surplus. Federal equalization payments account for $1.385 billion, or 20.07% of the provincial revenue. While Nova Scotians have enjoyed balanced budgets for several years, the accumulated debt exceeds $12 billion (including forecasts of future liability, such as pensions and environmental cleanups), resulting in slightly over $897 million in debt servicing payments, or 12.67% of expenses.[8]

In 2010, MLAs were criticized by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for their pension plan, which costs taxpayers $11 million annually.[9] The ratio of funding for the pension, according to the report, is $22 taxpayer dollars per $1 contributed by public officials.[9]

Current politics

The Liberal party won the most recent election on May 30, 2017 with its second consecutive majority government.[5]

In the 2018/19 budget, results were $10.78 billion in expenses, $10.81 billion in revenue, and a projected surplus of $29.4 million.[10] The surplus is largely related to expected tax income from the future sale of cannabis within the province.[11] The province's revenue comes mainly from the taxation of personal and corporate income, although taxes on tobacco and alcohol, its stake in the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, and oil and gas royalties are also significant.[12] The province participates in the HST, a blended sales tax collected by the federal government using the GST tax system.[13]

See also


  1. "About the Legislature". Nova Scotia Legislature. 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  2. Province of Nova Scotia (2009). "Province House, Halifax, Nova Scotia" (PDF). Nova Scotia Legislature.
  3. Archives, Nova Scotia (1758-05-20). "Nova Scotia Archives - Voices of the People: Nova Scotia House of Assembly ~ Petitions and Correspondence, 1758-1850". novascotia.ca. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  4. Chief Electoral Officer (30 May 2017). "Statement of Votes and Statistics: Volume 1" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia.
  5. "Liberals score back-to-back majorities in Nova Scotia nail-biter | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  6. Smith, Amy; Jackson, David (May 6, 2009). "N.S. heads to polls June 9". The Chronicle Herald. Archived from the original on May 6, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  7. "Summary of Valid Votes by Party 2006" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. June 13, 2006.
  8. Nova Scotia Finance (2006). "2006-2007 Estimates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-10. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  9. Lacey, Kevin (Sep 14, 2010). "CTF releases new study on Nova Scotia MLA pensions and benefits". Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  10. "Budget 2018-19 Highlights" (PDF). Nova Scotia. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  11. "Nova Scotia tables balanced budget, with $29.4M surplus relying heavily on cannabis sales | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  12. "Current Revenues and Taxes in Nova Scotia" (PDF). Nova Scotia. 18 November 2014.
  13. "Nova Scotia Department of Finance - Tax 101". www.novascotia.ca. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
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