05/02/2017 10:30 EDT | Updated 05/02/2017 10:36 EDT

N.S. Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil 'Devalued' Female Candidates, Tory Rival Says

HALIFAX — The leader of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative party is demanding an apology from the premier, saying Stephen McNeil has made "thoughtless and dismissive comments" about women candidates in the May 30 provincial election.

Jamie Baillie, campaigning today in Halifax, took aim at comments McNeil made Monday when asked why his party has the fewest female candidates.

Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil campaigns in Halifax on May 1, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

McNeil said he was proud of his party's record, noting that the Liberals have elected more women to the house of assembly than any other party.

However, the premier also suggested that some female candidates running for the other parties are contesting ridings they can't possibly win, which he said is a strategy he doesn't support.

The premier said it's important to place women in winnable ridings so that they can be appointed to positions of influence.

'Insulting and offensive'

Baillie issued a statement today saying the premier's comments were shocking because they suggest young women shouldn't follow their dreams, "even when the odds are stacked against them."

"This is absolutely not the message I give and reinforce with my own daughters or women who choose to run for the PC Party of Nova Scotia," Baillie said. "Yesterday, Stephen McNeil devalued the contributions of women candidates with insulting and offensive remarks."

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