Skabar supports government gains in Cumberland North

Darrell Cole
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MLA and premier speak to Rotary

Premier Darrell Dexter (centre) speaks to Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar (right) and Amherst Rotary Club president Paul Calder after both he and Skabar spoke to the club on Monday. 


AMHERST – The past four years have been full of challenges, but Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar says the government of which he’s a part of has met those challenges without hesitation.

“A lot has happened over the last four years with many new initiatives to make life better for Nova Scotian families, all while balancing the budget,” Skabar told members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday. “There are some who suggest it was all done by smoke and mirrors, but the auditor general is in concurrence that our budget is balanced and for the first time in 30 years the bond-rating agencies have increased our credit rating.”

Skabar told Rotarians getting elected in 2009 was one of the biggest honours he’s ever received. He said he still loves the job of serving his constituents and plans to reoffer when Nova Scotians go back to the polls either later this year or early in 2014.

The former federal civil servant said he’s been crisscrossing the riding listening to constituents and gathering information on what they’d like to see in the coming years.

Skabar, who attended the sod-turning for the new West Highlands Elementary earlier Monday, said the school project is an example of three levels of government working together to make sure the school is built in the right place.

He also pointed out that the Cumberland campus of the Nova Scotia Community Collge is also continuing to grow. Five years ago, he said, there were 207 students attending classes. Today, there is just over 500.

“There’s a concept that Amherst is suffering and not growing because there are no opportunities,” he told Rotarians. “The community college has grown by more than two-and-a-half times and these are job ready students when they graduate. There are plenty of opportunities out there and the success we’ve seen at the college shows that.”

The MLA said a Made In Cumberland solution has helped the province “move the yardsticks” in the provision of health care. Skabar said the collaborative emergency centres have helped take the pressure off rural ERs by guaranteeing them same day or next day access to a doctor.

Other initiatives include funding insulin pumps for children, providing dental care for children up to age 14, capping the price of generic drugs and waiving ambulance fees for low-income Nova Scotians.

Skabar said he’s in favour of maintaining the present system of district health authorities. He said constituents often bring health-care issues to him and he’s able to call the Cumberland Health Authority for answers.

He said he’s opposed to reducing the number of health authorities that’s being proposed by both the Conservatives and Liberals.

Skabar pointed out the Muskrat Falls project in Labrador will bring about lower energy costs for Nova Scotians and benefit the local economy. The MLA said the price of power is continuing to increase because of its reliance on coal. He believes switching to hydroelectricity will bring stability to power costs and ease some of the burden on those who can least afford higher power bills.

Premier Darrell Dexter said there are many positive things happening in Amherst. He said he was in Cape Breton last week meeting with business leaders about some of the challenges they’re facing. He said Amherst’s success was something that was raised.

“As they were going around the table, one of them said they need to re-invent themselves and be like Amherst, which has re-invented itself as a centre for small manufacturers. It’s vibrant and it’s growing,” the premier said. “It’s a story about self-confidence and fulfillment. When you have leadership that believes their community can be economically and socially prosperous that image not only translates into good things for the community, but it’s not very long before people on the outside see that as well.”

The premier said economic and social prosperity are linked with economic development required to support the social programs people need.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst Rotary Club, Nova Scotia Community Collge, Cumberland Health Authority Conservatives

Geographic location: AMHERST, Cumberland North, Labrador Cape Breton

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Recent comments

  • Andrew
    July 16, 2013 - 12:35

    WINGMAN, if you had checked, you would see that this government has done a lot to help seniors. Capping the cost on generic medications, waiving ambulance fees for low income Nova Scotians (including seniors), the seniors tax credit, expanding Lucentis treatment across the province, removing the requirement to pay deposits to ensure long term care, a provincial tax refund of $450;year for low income seniors, nearly 1000 long term care beds for seniors, expansion of the Caregivers Benefit - allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer.and removed and continuing to keep HST of power bills. As for power rates, that problem was created by many, many years of BAD PUBLIC POLICY by many previous Liberal and Conservative governments. The fact that the NDP took office when global demand for coal soared (causing huge increases in the cost/tonne of nearly 75%) does not reflect poor policy on their part. In fact, the efforts by this government to diversify our power supply by bringing in wind, solar, natural gas, tidal and hydroelectric will help diminish our requirements for coal and stabilize (if not decrease) our power rates over the coming year. Foresight has been the watchword for this government and you should be grateful for the initiatives the NDP has put in place in Nova Scotia in the past 4 years. They are making a difference and you will be one of the beneficiaries.

  • Skippy
    July 16, 2013 - 11:57

    It's too bad folks insist on negativity, even to the point of being nonsensical (CECs means less pressure on ERs which means more pressure on ERs... Huh?????). I for one am happy with lower unemployment rates, fewer people living in poverty, balanced budgets, taking care of kids' teeth, more investment in Amherst and Cumberland county, the dismantling of the crooked economic development system...heck, the list goes on. Dominion Bond Rating Service says Nova Scotia is leading the way in economic recovery. Face it people, we have a good government and a good local representative in Skabar.

    • Jack on The Rocks
      July 16, 2013 - 13:12

      To Skippy...all I have to say to that is...Can I have some of that??? A good local rep,where have you been????

  • Realistic
    July 16, 2013 - 11:42

    I'd suggest Mr. Skabar (and any & all other persons seeking to run for office) spend some time at the ER department at the Amherst hospital. I don't mean sitting at Outpatients (that's bad enough) - I mean out back in the heart of it where the hallways are stacked full of people on beds so bad the medical staff can hardly get by without bouncing their way by & meal carts barely get through. The doctors & nurses are working under impossible conditions back there and sick people are suffering. The health care system is seriously broken and I fail to see where anything is being done or planned to fix it - CECs are not helping this.

  • Jack On The Rocks
    July 16, 2013 - 05:52

    "Job ready students when they graduate"...alot of good that is with NO chance of finding one in NS...

  • Jackson
    July 15, 2013 - 21:14

    With the greatest of respect to Mr. Skabar and Premier Dexter they are truly out of tune with the local economy when they come in to Amherst and suggest other parts of Nova Scotia are wanting to emulate how things are done here. Between the jobs at the jail and numerous government offices leaving Cumberland County, the inability to compete with New Brunswick due to higher HST and other taxes, the local economy has suffered greatly in the last four years. Go out and speak with any small business owner in Cumberland County and ask them if things are better for them now compared to when the NDP first took office. Time for a change.

  • mother
    July 15, 2013 - 19:59

    What about all the cut backs to our schools and the lack of EAs for student who need them? What about the fact that TWO of my children are not getting the help that they need because of this. My middle son who should be seeing a speech therpist at least twice a month was reduced to twice a YEAR once he started school because of this. My youngest son who is austic has been on waitlist after waitlist trying to get services that will help him and us, and because of the lack of funding for these programs it could take up to or over a year. I can't wait for an election and when you coming knocking at my door to see if you have my vote you better be ready to answer these questions and more. It's kind of ironic that this was printed the same week that I am doing a T.V. interview because of the long waitlist and the lack of support from our government to help fund the programs that many children need.

  • first last
    July 15, 2013 - 19:35

    the CECs may take pressure off the rural ERs but they have greatly increased pressure on the regional ER. Now that they are saving 150$/hour/night where is the extra afternoon Dr. that is supposed to help with the increased use of CRHCC? How about extra nursing home beds so that the hospital can move people out and make room for patients that are still sick and not just waiting for a safe place to go home to?

  • Dave
    July 15, 2013 - 16:35

    If they are talking about Amherst's success in Cape Breton things must really suck down there. This is a good story it is hard to believe that they can pile it that high!!!

  • wingman
    July 15, 2013 - 15:58

    What a joke. Power rates continue to rise because of our dependence on coal. Someone should tell this government that we have lots of coal right here in Nova Scotia so let's burn our own coal and if we don't want to burn it I'm sure places like India and China will. We must demand power rates go down now. What has he NDP government done for seniors. Some of them are living in hospital beds because this government would rather give the money away to big business instead of spending it where it is needed. We must also demand that taxes be lowered so we can afford to eat and keep warm in the winter. No all this smoke and mirrors certainly is not addressing the problems people are having just trying to stay alive. This government also has to do something about all the bums laying around drawing welfare. I'm tired of my pension money funding people who don't want to work.