N.S. Liberal leader fumes over federal carbon tax election sign by Progressive Conservatives

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia PC Party earns another seat as Twila Grosse wins Preston byelection'
Nova Scotia PC Party earns another seat as Twila Grosse wins Preston byelection
WATCH: A new MLA will be joining Nova Scotia's PC party as Twila Grosse won an important by-election in her riding of Preston on Tuesday night. But as Zack Power reports, the win, in a historically Liberal riding, wasn't without its controversy – Aug 9, 2023

The Nova Scotia Liberal Party is calling Conservative messaging around the federal carbon tax a significant impact on voting in the wake of the by-election in Preston.

Shortly after Premier Tim Houston boasted about election results from his party, Liberal leader Zach Churchill said that the provincial Liberals were painted with the same brush as the Trudeau government.

Signs around Preston read, “vote against the Liberal carbon tax” outside polling stations in the riding, which has primarily voted red through the past 30 years.

Just last week, the Liberals tried to get some of those signs removed.

“It’s unfortunate that the Houston Conservatives chose to run a campaign that played on misinformation towards voters rather than speaking on its own record in government for the last two years, which was unfairly supported by Elections Nova Scotia,” Churchill said.

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Complaints to Elections Nova Scotia come on the heels of the Liberals losing a ruling about controversies over campaign messaging from Twila Grosse.

Last week, Dorothy Rice, Nova Scotia’s chief electoral officer, ordered the Liberals to remove signs and other campaign material that she said contained false statements concerning a potential dump in the riding’s Lake Echo area.

Rice called in the RCMP to assist with a formal investigation under the provincial Elections Act, after the Liberals refused to comply with her order. She acted on a complaint by the Conservatives over what they said was misleading material wrongly asserting that Premier Tim Houston was doing nothing to stop plans for the dump.

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Both the Liberals and NDP in Nova Scotia have called out the Conservatives in the wake of the election, saying that the carbon tax is outside provincial jurisdiction.

Tom Urbaniak, a political science professor at the University of Cape Breton, said the amount of political force at the door creates aftermarket drama between the political parties.

Urbaniak believes the conservative targeting of the carbon tax during the by-election was a smart move but not the reason for the win.

“Twila Grosse would have won this election (even if) the carbon tax has not been a talking point in this by-election,” Urbaniak said in an interview with Global News.

“She would have won because of her strong campaign, because of the candidate factor which counts in Preston.”

With files from the Canadian Press

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