08/15/2013 03:48 EDT | Updated 10/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia to release financial update next week, can election be far behind?

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government will release an update on the province's finances next week, which is likely to fuel speculation that the NDP is on the verge of calling an election.

The government has said it would release a fiscal update before an election is called.

In a statement, Economic Development Minister Graham Steele said the government had planned on releasing the update Thursday, but Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald had to take some time off to get over an illness.

He said he is now being briefed on the updated forecast of the government's finances and expects to deliver it on behalf of MacDonald next week as acting finance minister.

Liberal Opposition Leader Stephen McNeil called on the government last week to release the update before it would normally be scheduled to come out in September.

"The people of Nova Scotia deserve to know the status of how their tax dollars are being spent before they are asked to choose their next government," he said in a statement.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said he expects the NDP will try to convince Nova Scotians that their tax dollars are in good hands.

"The government, after four years of deficits and debts and higher taxes, is trying to tell us that all is fine," he said in an interview. "But the Nova Scotians who pay those taxes and our kids who will have to pay back that debt, they know better."

The NDP is in the fifth year of its mandate but doesn't have to call an election until next year. The party won a majority government in June 2009.

The government has made a number of campaign-style announcements recently and it made progress this week on a big issue that has been a political thorn in its side.

Steele announced Tuesday that the province is entering into negotiations with a company to revive a ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine. The government has been criticized for ending a subsidy for the ferry when the NDP first came to power.

The government tabled a budget with a surplus of $16.4 million forecast for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Last month, the province released its audited financial statement showing it had a deficit of $302 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended March 31.