Nova Sco­tia elec­tion prom­ises flow freely

Tories, Lib­er­als make in­fra­struc­ture pitches, NDP push health-care im­prove­ments

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY KEITH DOUCETTE AND ALISON AULD

Nova Sco­tia’s Lib­er­als and Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives both promised mil­lions for high­ways and ru­ral roads on the first full day of the provin­cial elec­tion cam­paign Mon­day, while the NDP promised mil­lions more to im­prove ac­cess to health care.

Lib­eral Premier Stephen McNeil an­nounced an ex­tra $240 mil­lion over four years in in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, while Tory Leader Jamie Bail­lie promised a $2-bil­lion Re­build Nova Sco­tia Fund, which re­lies on half the money com­ing from Ot­tawa.

Bail­lie said a Tory gov­ern­ment would not go into deficit to come up with its $1-bil­lion share of the fund.

He said the fund would be used to twin “Nova Sco­tia’s most dan­ger­ous high­ways,’’ build a new Vic­to­ria Gen­eral hos­pi­tal and bring high-speed In­ter­net to ru­ral ar­eas.

“It is my ex­pec­ta­tion that it will cre­ate 10,000 jobs over the 10-year pe­riod that we re­new our in­fra­struc­ture,’’ he said, flanked by work­ers at an in­su­la­tion man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Dart­mouth.

Bail­lie said his plan would twin more high­way kilo­me­tres than the Lib­eral pro­posal, and in­cludes other safety mea­sures on un­twinned sec­tions of the high­ways.

The money would also go to­ward cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal recla­ma­tion and com­mu­nity en­hance­ment fund.

Bail­lie also sug­gested the newly amal­ga­mated Nova Sco­tia Health Author­ity may come un­der scru­tiny to make it op­er­ate more ef­fi­ciently and save money, say­ing he would pro­vide more de­tails when the party re­leases its plat­form.

“There’s no Nova Sco­tian out there that is telling that this new Nova Sco­tia Health Author­ity is de­liv­er­ing ser­vices ei­ther more ef­fi­ciently or bet­ter,’’ he said. “We’ve ac­tu­ally cre­ated more lay­ers of ad­min­is­tra­tion, not less.’’

McNeil said the Lib­er­als would spend $50 mil­lion a year on new schools and im­prove­ments to main streets, and an ex­tra $10 mil­lion a year to im­prove the province’s gravel roads. The gravel road com­mit­ment would add to the $10 mil­lion a year al­ready pledged ear­lier this spring.

The work for gravel roads is much needed and long over­due, he said.

“There’s no ques­tion there has been a level of ne­glect,’’ said McNeil. “With the lack of ditch­ing, wa­ter is un­able to move away ... and then we’ve had traf­fic than has run over top of them, which has rut­ted them up and worn them down. It will take a com­plete re­build.’’

McNeil also re-an­nounced a Lib­eral pledge last week to spend $390 mil­lion to twin three sec­tions of 100 se­ries high­ways and to build a new four-lane con­nec­tor be­tween Bed­ford and Burn­side. The money would also be used for safety im­prove­ments to high­ways across the province.

McNeil said the in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing would also cre­ate thou­sands of jobs, although a spe­cific fig­ure wasn’t pro­vided.

The new fund­ing is over and above what was in­cluded in the province’s cap­i­tal plan and the pro­jec­tions were part of last Thurs­day’s bud­get, although it wasn’t high­lighted at the time by the gov­ern­ment.

“We see now that they are promis­ing some­thing that was not im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent in the num­bers they put for­ward,’’ said NDP Leader Gary Bur­rill. “That’s the trou­ble you get when you pre­sent as they have a non­bud­get, bud­get.’’

Mean­while, the NDP made a ma­jor pledge of its own, say­ing $120 mil­lion would be com­mit­ted over four years to build new pri­mary care clin­ics and to hire more doc­tors, nurses and nurse prac­ti­tion­ers.

Bur­rill said an NDP gov­ern­ment would work col­lab­o­ra­tively with fam­ily doc­tors to de­ter­mine what re­sources are needed in var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties.

Although he pointed to Statis­tics Canada fig­ures that in­di­cate about 100,000 peo­ple are with­out a fam­ily doc­tor, Bur­rill wouldn’t make prom­ises about how much his party’s pledge would re­duce cur­rent short­ages.

“On the ba­sis of the num­bers we have been able to ac­cess, it seems to us that $30 mil­lion a year would take us a se­ri­ous way down the road to sig­nif­i­cantly grap­pling with this prob­lem,’’ he said.

Nova Sco­tians will go the polls May 30.

CP PHOTO

Nova Sco­tia NDP Leader Gary Bur­rill makes a cam­paign stop in Hal­i­fax on Mon­day. The provin­cial elec­tion will be held Tues­day, May 30.

CP PHOTO

Nova Sco­tia PC leader Jamie Bail­lie speaks to sup­port­ers dur­ing a cam­paign stop in Hal­i­fax on Sun­day. Bail­lie has promised that ,if elected, his gov­ern­ment would spend mil­lions on high­ways and ru­ral roads.

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