McNeil takes aim at NDP, issue with PC leader

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Nova Scotia Liberal leader, Stephen McNeil,says his party supports the efforts to complete renovations at River Hebert District High School.

SPRINGHILL – Education, schools and who’s doing what for both are shaping up to be a major campaign issue here in Cumberland County when Nova Scotia goes back to the polls.

Nova Scotia Liberal leader Stephen McNeil is not impressed with the NDP government and Education Minister Ramona Jennex, and he’s not impressed with Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie, either.

In a late-March interview with the Amherst Daily News after he tabled a petition and 1,000 letters calling for renovations at River Hebert District High School to resume, Baillie lamented his resolution for work to resume immediately was tabled after it received opposition. A unanimous decision is needed for a resolution to be addresses the same day it is presented.

McNeil feels Baillie painted the Liberals with the same brush as the NDP. While Baillie’s request for waiver and passage of his resolution without debate received a series of nays in the legislature, those who opposed it weren’t from the Liberal camp, McNeil said.

“None at all,” McNeil said. “We’d never say nay about that.”

Baillie, however, says if McNeil and the Liberals didn’t oppose his motion, they also didn’t do anything to support it.

“You’re not usually allowed to present a resolution and debate it without unanimous consent… I heard some nos. The Hansard recorded some nos. If he says he sat on his hands, whatever… The NDP voted against my resolution and the Liberals were either silent or the voted against it.”

McNeil says Baillie’s issue is with the NDP and, frankly, so is his.

Last week Education Minister Jennex called for any scheduled or pending school closures to be suspended after a number of communities went through the school review process with their school boards.

“This is nothing more than a political decision,” McNeil said. “ They’re not suspended. They’re held off until after the election. Putting communities through the gut wrenching process only to pull out at the eleventh-hour. At it’s worst, is politicking.”

Baillie, too, said he thinks the minister’s motives were insincere, but said he’s in favour of suspending the school closures.

“I’ve been calling on them for a moratorium on school closures because the system is flawed,” Baillie said. “But the way it was done. I think everyone sees that for what it is.”

The NDP became Nova Scotia’s governing party in 2009 after securing 31 of the legislatures 52 seats. Now in its fourth year, the government has until June 14, 2014, to call for an election before its term expires but an election call could come as early as this spring or fall.  

Organizations: NDP, Amherst Daily News, River Hebert District High School

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Cumberland County

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  • David Le Blanc
    April 08, 2013 - 19:10

    Ramona Jennex , McNeil, Baillie, Dexter, are all for finishing the River Hebert School. The School board says they have the money. Why is the school not being built. The people of River Hebert have given them the go ahead,what in the heck is the problem. I would say this is government at it's finest!!!!!!! I can see why people have such little faith in the Government!!!!

  • Dave George
    April 08, 2013 - 19:01

    LOL....McNeil is in panic mode. McNeil did not support the debate on the Cumberland South School...this in part means your well against proper schools as are the NDP or you would of supported to have the debate in the House. SHAME on you Liberals as well the NDP. Your both in bed together. hmmmm, where did I hear that before....LOL Looks like the Cumberland South Candidate will be knocking on more doors with his good shoulder while he is on WCB. I could think of better ways to spend my WCB tax dollars than support a candidate to waste WCB money. Thats when he catches up on his sleep after his week trip to Florida.

  • wingman
    April 08, 2013 - 16:45

    Another big bag of wind blowing through the County. Let him tell us how much he will reduce power rates, gas prices, food prices and taxes if elected. I think these are the real issues that should be at the forefront during this election campaign. People are stretched to the limit trying to feed cloth and staying warm. Maybe if McNeil and Baillie would support these issues instead of new Convention Centers and money for the Irvings, Paper Mills, RIM and Fish Farms there might be enough money to fund all the schools in the Province. He can also tell us how he is going to eliminate all the Education Boards, Health Boards and other drains on the taxpayer.