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No doubt Nova Scotia Finance Minister Graham Steele is wishing he hadn't stuck his foot in his mouth.
It's no extravagance that the premier would be attending the Winter Olympics in Vancouver early next year, yet Darrell Dexter is under some scrutiny over the issue thanks to the man watching the money.
While still in opposition, when then-premier Rodney MacDonald was apparently going to be attending the Games, the NDP called attention to it. Steele said, "the premier has got his priorities upside down." He also suggested MacDonald should pay his own way.
This is an international event, being hosted by one region of Canada. Of course premiers would attend. Dexter's counterparts from the other Atlantic provinces will be going too.
The current Opposition leader, Liberal Stephen McNeil, puts it this way: he doesn't object to the premier going, but he calls it an example of the NDP taking one position in opposition and then reversing course in office.
Dexter is reported to be keeping the trip business as usual. He has said he'll be attending receptions to promote the province and he is not allowing any civil servants to receive free passes. He'll have access passes for himself and two officials from his office, no other politicians will attend and he won't be going to any of the sports events.
The premier also wanted taxpayers to know that money had already been committed by the previous Conservative government toward a program involving provinces and territories. Nova Scotia will also take part in an Atlantic pavilion.
It is an excellent opportunity, on a global stage, to trade business cards and present selling points.
But McNeil has a good point. And many politicians can be caught at being contrary simply for the sake of being contrary. It can catch up to you. An opposition would be well advised to behave as if it could one day be holding the reins of government - to give the past less chance of catching up with them.

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Vancouver, Canada

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