Skabar accuses opponents of delivering mixed message
Question how can cut health-care administration but add to economic development administration.
© Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com
Cumberland North NDP candidate Brian Skabar answers a question while Green Party candidate Jason Blanch looks on during a candidates forum on Tantramar Radio on Friday.
AMHERST – Health-care spending continues to be a major issue among Cumberland North’s fourth candidates.
Appearing on an all-candidates forum on Tantramar Radio early Friday, Cumberland North NDP candidate Brian Skabar said closing the Cumberland Health Authority will result in the loss of 11 jobs in downtown Amherst.
“Eleven people could be gone from Amherst. Those jobs will move to Halifax where people who don’t understand this area and its nuances will be making decisions about health care in this community,” Skabar said in response to a question.
Liberal candidate Terry Farrell said the actual number will be four or five positions, adding there are too many CEOs and vice-presidents at the health authorities across Nova Scotia.
Farrell said doing nothing is not an option, considering there are still many people in rural Nova Scotia looking for access to doctors and too many people in waiting lines for surgeries and tests.
Skabar said administration costs have been reduced in the past four years and service in rural areas has been enhanced with the collaborative emergency centres.
PC candidate Judi Giroux said reducing the health boards will save $60 million in administration. Green Party candidate Jason Blanch said the other parties are missing the point. He said more of a focus has to be put on finding out why people are sick and doing more promotion on health and wellness.
Skabar accused his opponents of being hypocritical when it comes to the closed regional development offices, especially when Farrell and Giroux suggested there needs to be a economic development presence in Cumberland County.
“The current situation is atrocious. The RDAs were taken away and nothing has been put in their place. Something has to be done and we’ll review the situation and implement a local solution,” Farrell said. “Our regional development needs can’t be served by an office in another county.”
Giroux agreed saying the area needs to have an office.
Skabar found it interesting that the other parties want local representation on economic development and not with health care.
“My goodness, talk about mixed messages,” Skabar said.
Farrell said there will still be local decision-making through hospital administrators and the community health boards.
Skabar said a local economic development option is necessary, but instead of being grouped with Colchester he supports a shared office with Sackville and the Tantramar region of New Brunswick.
The other area of friction occurred over the loss of the maintenance enforcement jobs to New Waterford. Giroux said it was a bad decision and said Skabar did nothing to stop it, while Farrell said he as a lawyer that works in family law said his clients have found it difficult to obtain service.
Skabar agreed it was a bad decision and said he spoke publicly and in caucus against moving the jobs to Cape Breton.