Kings West debate
“I’ve never been more optimistic… I have lived with, as the MLA for Kings West, an out-of-the-area area manager for my entire time in office… We finally have an area manager who lives in Kings County. He’s invested here in every way and I now have, on my desk, a five-year plan for paving, five-year plan for double chip seal and a plan to improve the gravel roads. This has never happened before and… if I’m back in office and people call up, I can tell you when your road will be done.”
“One of the things that the NDP did do when we were in government was we bought a mobile asphalt and chip seal machinery… it gave the government an idea of what those things really did cost and it gave the opportunity to go into those small little areas that the big businesses were not interested in doing. When the Liberals took office they sold that equipment to Newfoundland and then the cost of chip sealing jumped 20 per cent, so one of the things that we are looking at is we are going to, if we were able to go into office again… continue with the plan that was in the budget that came out a couple weeks ago… the twinning of the 101 (from) Falmouth to the other side of Windsor and we do not believe in toll highways.”
3. How do you plan to address the concerns of educators raised during work-to-rule this past winter?
“One of the first things the NDP want to do is repeal Bill 75,” she said, adding that “the flavour of bargaining” has changed in the province.
The public now knows more about the issues teachers face in the classroom on a daily basis, said Burbidge.
“There (are) a lot of issues. I have four children… two of my grandchildren are in school here in the Valley and I would hope that they will have a good basis to be able to be educated from.”
“I don’t know how it could have been done better. I’ve certainly been a person that has been out on strike myself… I sympathize with the teachers… and they probably had some good reasons for what they were doing and I don’t know if things were negotiated in good faith or not. I’d have to know more.”
“I think what happened by imposing the contract, it set our province down a course that could cost us more in the long run. There’s cases across Canada where governments have lost cases – court challenges – and, unfortunately, this government won’t be in power when that happens. Another government will have to pay for that.”
“I believe in the past year or two that we reached that tipping point where the classroom conditions overwhelmed everything in education. This has been a decline in public education for now a 15year period and it happened incrementally, and it will take us a decade to get to where we need to have the strongest public education that we need for the future of our children. It will be small, incremental improvements. The education panel is, in fact, just the very beginning.”
4. Considering both the cost of food and food bank usage in Nova Scotia are on the rise, how would you address food insecurity and hunger in Nova Scotia?
“The Green party believes in what we call a guaranteed annual income and that (means) that people would make a certain amount of money that would be up above the poverty level,” she said, noting that in her role as a social worker she often sees the “chaos” that is a direct result of people living in poverty.
“I do a lot of work every Christmas for the food banks. I put Christmas concerts on every year and we’ve been able to raise quite a lot of money for the local food banks in Berwick and Kingston. I think, individually, we can all do what we need to do… to help food banks.”
Government, he added, also has a role to play in helping low-income Nova Scotians.
“Government should be there when people need it the most, so one of the things we want to do is raise the basic personal amount of income by up to $3,000 for people with incomes below $75,000. That one move will cut taxes for over 500,000 Nova Scotians.”
Glavine noted the Liberal budget also contains a commitment to changing the basic personal exemption.
“This would allow up to 500,000 Nova Scotians to benefit from that raising from $8,441 to $11,481 before you would start to pay taxes and… this is more money in Nova Scotians’ pockets,” he said, listing the introduction of a standard household rate for income assistance, more assistance for people who are unable to work as well as incentives for those who are able to get back to work, and a new tax credit for farmers who donate excess or misshapen products to food banks as additional ways to help lowincome Nova Scotians.
“We want to try to set the social assistance rates so that people can afford to shop at a grocery store instead of having to go to a food bank. We were looking at raising the minimum wage… (to) put more money in people’s pockets… and look at a designed phase of a basic income guarantee so people that are working and at low-income jobs do have a chance to have a little bit more so they can afford to buy their own food,” she said, later adding that it is important to look at new ways to support farmers struggling to make ends meet.
“It truly amazes me that we’ll pay somebody $1 million to play hockey, but our farmers struggle to make ends meet.”
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