Wil­liams’s U.S. care draws most sup­port in At­lantic Canada, least in Que­bec

Cape Breton Post - - Atlantic - BY SUE BAI­LEY

Har­ris Dec­ima.

“At­lantic Cana­di­ans — those who are clos­est to the area and per­haps closer to the sit­u­a­tion than oth­ers — are re­ally quite sup­port­ive of this de­ci­sion by a threeto-one mar­gin.

“ What we don’t know is why they’re sup­port­ive, whether it’s re­lated to Danny Wil­liams the per­son or their own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with the health care sys­tem in the re­gion.”

In New­found­land and Labrador, the gov­ern­ment has tried to steady shaken faith in lo­cal health care af­ter a se­ries of botched breast can­cer tests led to an in­quiry and a $17.5-mil­lion set­tle­ment.

The tele­phone sur­vey done be­tween Feb. 4 and 7 asked 2,033 re­spon­dents: “This week, the premier of New­found­land and Labrador, Danny Wil­liams, went to the United States for heart surgery. Do you think go­ing to the U.S. for this surgery was ap­pro­pri­ate or not?”

The poll has a mar­gin of er­ror of 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. It in­cluded no fol­low-up ques­tions that might have shed light on lev­els of sup­port or dis­ap­proval.

Wil­liams left the prov­ince for undis­closed heart surgery at an un­named U.S. clinic on the ad­vice of lo­cal doc­tors and con­sul­tants.

His deputy premier, Kathy Dun­derdale, shunned calls for more de­tail last week. She lashed out at what she called a “fe­ro­cious” de­bate in Canada and the U.S., where Wil­liams was swiftly used as a right-wing ar­gu­ment against any Amer­i­can shift to­ward pub­lic health care.

The premier’s spokes­woman said Thurs­day that he has been re­leased from hospi­tal and that doc­tors are pleased with his progress. But El­iz­a­beth Matthews would not con­firm where Wil­liams is re­cov­er­ing, say­ing in an email his ex­act lo­ca­tion “is not rel­e­vant.” HAL­I­FAX — The Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment in­di­cated it will soon tighten spending rules for mem­bers of the leg­is­la­ture af­ter it re­quested the man tasked to re­view al­lowances to pro­vide an up­date on his work within weeks.

For­mer Speaker Art Don­a­hoe said Thurs­day he will sub­mit an in­terim re­port on al­lowances and perks to the board that over­sees the reg­u­la­tions on mem­bers’ ex­pense al­lowances.

Don­a­hoe was en­listed in De­cem­ber to sub­mit a full re­port by July 31.

“I’ve had dis­cus­sions with the Speaker and with the premier and as a re­sult of those dis­cus­sions I will be pre­sent­ing an in­terim re­port for the next meet­ing of the leg­is­la­ture in­ter­nal econ­omy board,” Don­a­hoe told re­porters.

Speaker Char­lie Parker later said the board would meet be­fore the end of the month, likely within two to three weeks.

Parker said that at that time, the board would be looking at draft reg­u­la­tions on the $84 per diem for mem­bers dur­ing leg­isla­tive sit­tings to elim­i­nate so-called dou­ble dip­ping.

He said it would also de­ter­mine which ex­ces­sive ex­pen­di­tures should be paid back and will rec­om­mend that all du­pli­cate ex­penses that can be ver­i­fied be re­paid.

In a re­port on mem­bers’ ex­penses re­leased last week, the prov­ince’s au­di­tor gen­eral cited nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples of in­ap­pro­pri­ate or ex­ces­sive spending and pointed out a need for clearer rules.

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