The Nova Scotia provincial NDP were in White Point last week for their caucus retreat, so they could focus on rebuilding and readying for the spring legislative session.
Maureen MacDonald, interim leader of the NDP
Correction: A date for the leadership vote has not been set.
Maureen MacDonald, interim leader for the party, says high on the agenda will be scrutinizing the first budget by the Liberal government. Since the government is not reducing the HST this year, she says it will be important to scrutinize how they use those funds.
"The key issue on the minds of most Nova Scotians is affordability," she says.
MacDonald says some of the major issues the NDP would like addressed is the cost of living continuing to rise while incomes are not keeping pace. Also important is the cost of child care for working parents and keeping youth in our province.
"We also have a serious youth/young adult employment and underemployment problem," she says.
The result is young people moving out west, and she says that needs addressing.
"These are all complicated issues and we talked about them in our caucus. They are our priority issues," says MacDonald.
Another major topic was how to rebuild the party. In the fall 2013 election, the NDP went from a majority of 31 seats to third place with seven.
"We try to put things in perspective. Unquestionably the election was a disappointment," she says.
Where those seats are though she believes gives them a good perspective on the province. There is a mix of seats from Cape Breton, Halifax on both the peninsula and the suburbs, Truro and South Shore.
Since they are not in power, MacDonald says they need to keep a dialogue open with their constituents even more than usual, to make sure issues are getting to the table.
"It's incumbent on the elected members to be out there in the communities," she says.
The NDP are holding a convention in April to further discuss how to rebuild the party for the next election.