Throne speech a missed opportunity, Baillie

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Skabar says it’s a sign of progress

HALIFAX – Cumberland County’s two MLAs have differing views of Tuesday’s speech from the throne.

While Cumberland North NDP MLA Brian Skabar said it’s an indication of how far the government has come since assuming power in 2009, his counterpart in Cumberland South, PC Party leader Jamie Baillie, feels it’s a missed opportunity to address a number of deficiencies in both the county and the province.

“There’s nothing good for Cumberland County. There’s no plan for jobs, nothing on rural schools, no relief from high power rates and no long-term care beds for seniors like those in Advocate,” Baillie said.

The throne speech, the first delivered by new Lt.-Go. J.J. Grant, listed the NDP government’s accomplishments over four years and promised to create a Department of Education and Early Childhood Development that will better co-ordinate services for infants, young children and their families.

Baillie said the government used the speech as an attempt to pat itself on the back and said it amounted to political rhetoric that lacks direction and a plan for Nova Scotians.

The Cumberland South MLA said he is disappointed there was no mention of delayed school renovation projects in River Hebert and Springhill and nothing to alleviate fears for parents in small rural elementary schools like Wentworth.

“They went out of their way to pat themselves on the back for what they did in the past, which is why there’s such a glaring omission when it comes to jobs and schools because they have nothing to tell Nova Scotians and sadly no plan to fix them,” Baillie said.

While he is pleased to see government talk about a buy-local program, he said government is missing the boat by not taking a leadership role in making it a policy for government institutions.

For his part, Skabar said the speech recognizes that times have been tough in Nova Scotia since 2009 and that government is turning a corner after four rough economic years.

“There have been a number of hills for us to climb as a government since 2009 and we have climbed them,” Skabar said. “We’re turning the corner and we’ll start to see some good things on April 4 when the budget is delivered.”

Skabar said the government will continue to improve life for Nova Scotia’s families, and while there were no pre-election goodies the throne speech recognizes that things are improving economically.

He said he is pleased the speech recognized the collaborative emergency centre initiative that he said is making a difference in Cumberland County and is being copied in Prince Edward Island and possibly Saskatchewan.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: PC Party, Department of Education and Early Childhood

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Cumberland South, Nova Scotians Nova Scotia River Hebert Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan

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