Singh rallies with Nova Scotia NDP as polls tighten

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill and his Dartmouth-area candidates got some high-profile help today.

About 200 supporters and more than half-a-dozen local candidates gathered at Ferry Terminal Park this afternoon to welcome federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who spent the morning with party faithful on the Halifax side of the harbour.

“People know that New Democrats fight for you and your family,” Singh told the Dartmouth audience, pitching the Nova Scotia NDP as the best option on issues such as health care, affordable housing, and rent control.

“We’re going to need you all, for the next six days, to dig deep (and) get these amazing candidates elected,” he said. “Get Gary elected.”

Singh’s social media savvy helped draw 16-year-old NDP supporter Tinoka Premanath to the rally.

“He’s on Instagram and TikTok, and I’m on those platforms a lot, so seeing him in real life is crazy,” she said. “I want to be involved as much as I can because I can’t vote yet.”

Eighteen-year-old Cole Ogilvie, who will be voting in his first election next week, said he’d be marking his ballot for incumbent Dartmouth South MLA Claudia Chender.

“My views about the world align a lot with the NDP,” he said after Singh’s remarks.

The federal leader’s visit wasn’t the only source of good news for Burrill today.

An opinion poll released by Narrative Research shows the Nova Scotia election race has tightened up in advance of the Aug. 17 vote.

The governing Liberals have suffered a 12-point drop in decided voter support since May. While that’s still good enough for 40 per cent, it’s the wrong kind of trend for a party to be seeing late in a campaign.

The NDP, meanwhile, has seen its decided voter support grow from 19 per cent to 27 per cent since May. By comparison, the party received 21.5 per cent of the popular vote in the 2017 general election.

The Progressive Conservatives have also experienced a significant bump, going from 24 per cent to 31 per cent.

“I’ve found that, in every week of our campaign, the reception to me and our candidates has been more engaged, and warm, and interested,” Burrill told the Sidebar after Singh’s remarks at the Dartmouth rally.

“We hear more from people about their gathering misgivings about the Rankin Liberals,” he said. “I think that the lay of the land is changing in ways that are maybe not easy to quantify.”

(Photo: Scott Costen)