Nova Scotia election looms but premier remains timid on when to call

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The Liberal government’s spending frenzy has shifted into high gear and the candidate lists for the three parties are rapidly complementing each other.

Election-style electronic ads have appeared and political rhetoric is escalating.

All Nova Scotia seems to be missing is an election call.

At a press conference Thursday following a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Iain Rankin was timid about the arrival of this call.

“It’s important that we get through phase 3 (of the pandemic recovery) and start thinking about the future of our province,” Rankin told reporters.

“I am really excited about our vision and how we are taking our province to the next level. We are managing the pandemic extremely well and it is thanks to a strong public health team. “

Rankin said the timing of the election was not delayed by the fallout from an admission that he was twice charged with impaired driving, in 2003 and 2005, and the prime minister maintains that it does not wait for any particular COVID-19 recovery milestones before launching Nova. Nova Scotian in an election campaign.

The fourth phase of Nova Scotia’s five-step reopening plan is expected to begin Wednesday and expand access to social connections and capacity for businesses, services, events and activities.

Nova Scotia Conservative Party Leader Tim Houston said Friday’s Liberal announcement was not a real plan for long-term care, but rather a “cynical political decision for Iain Rankin to try. to be elected ”. – David Jala / Cape Breton Post – SaltWire Network

According to the Department of Health and Wellness, 369,412 Nova Scotians had received a second dose of the vaccine on Friday and overall, nearly 1.1 million doses of the vaccine had been administered.

“I continue to focus on the priorities that I have talked about over the past few months,” Rankin said. “There are a number of initiatives that I wanted to involve with the federal government where we have mutual priorities and some of them are still being implemented and I am very focused on the third phase at the moment.

“I will continue to talk (about resuming employment), while at the same time acknowledging some of the issues that were raised during the pandemic. Housing is one of them. We need to pay more attention to long-term care.

The Liberal government paid attention to housing and long-term care over the past week, announcing a $ 25 million investment on Tuesday to immediately increase affordable housing and a $ 96.5 million multi-year plan on Friday. to add and replace long-term housing. care beds.

On Saturday, the premier announced in Sydney that a request for proposals will be issued to attract innovative, low-cost solutions to supply 10 percent of the province’s electricity from renewables, such as wind and solar. The initiative is expected to create 4,000 jobs, mostly in rural Nova Scotia, according to the government.

Gary Burrill, leader of the New Democratic Party, said the election would depend on voters choosing the Liberals and Conservatives, who will both follow the directions of their privileged and private supporters, or the NDP, who will tackle the real issues. faced by families, the elderly, children and young people.  - Francis Campbell
Gary Burrill, leader of the New Democratic Party, said the election would depend on voters choosing the Liberals and Conservatives, who will both follow the directions of their privileged and private supporters, or the NDP, who will tackle the real issues. faced by families, the elderly, children and young people. – Francis Campbell

On Wednesday, an agreement in principle was reached between approximately 7,500 healthcare workers represented by the NSGEU, CUPE and Unifor with Nova Scotia Health and the IWK Health Center. Terms of the deal, which must be ratified by unionized workers, were not disclosed, but strike rumors appear to have been avoided.

Treasury Board President Keith Irving told reporters on Thursday that the health care deal “is a fair deal and a deal Nova Scotia can afford.”

On Budget Day in March, the government proposed a four-year plan to achieve balanced budgets. Irving said it was reasonable to ask if the health regulations and spending announcements in any way jeopardized this budget plan.

“That’s a fair question and I think it will be better answered by the time of the tax update, when there is more information on the effects of reduced income and expenses due to COVID, but, yes , the housing commission was an extra vote, “Irving said.” Whether that can be offset by savings within the department, I think we’ll have to wait until August to be able to report on this.

“We have prioritized the safety of Nova Scotians, resolving COVID issues, and providing support to businesses to ensure we exit in a healthy manner when COVID is over.”

The spending madness leaves the government open to a fair amount of criticism from the opposition.

The Progressive Conservatives released a statement on Friday saying the Liberals’ long-term care plan is paltry compared to a $ 465 million three-year PC plan proposed last summer to build 2,500 new beds and hire 2,000 new employees.

“On the eve of an election, the Rankin government only announced 264 new beds when there are already more than 1,292 seniors waiting for long-term care,” PC chief Tim Houston said .

“With an aging population, that number will continue to increase and the effects of this decision will ripple through our health care system for years to come.

“It’s not bad luck. It is weak leadership.

Houston said the Liberal plan is simply “a cynical political decision for Iain Rankin to try to get elected, and it does not scratch the surface of what is needed to fix our long-term care system.”

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said in a party statement that the election will allow voters to choose between the Liberals and Conservatives, who follow the guidelines of their privileged and private supporters, or the NDP, which will attack the real problems for families, the elderly, children and young people. people are faced with in their real life.

“Whether it’s making sure every long-term care resident has their own room, making sure people can get the mental health care they need, or controlling rents so that people can afford to stay at home or save for a down payment, the NDP knows people deserve better, ”Burrill said.

When asked Thursday if he had any idea when an election might be called, Burrill said: “I’m not in charge of this department.”

“The ministry I am responsible for makes sure the NDP is ready when it calls, and we have 48 nominees and acclaim and we are ready to deliver the first gender balanced provincial slate in history. of the province, ”he said.

“When they shoot the gun, we’re ready to respond.”

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