Tag: Andrea

first_imgOn Sept. 17, when my colleagues and I entered the House of Assembly, we sat on a new side, the government side. Everyone said it would be different. Sometimes, it is easy to forget everything is an historic first, the Speech from the Throne, the government legislative program. Government worked hard throughout the session and has kept commitments made, beginning with the commitment to put the legislature back to work for the people of this province. The Opposition, under Mr. Stephen McNeil and Mrs. Karen Casey asked some tough questions. They brought their concerns to the floor of the legislature. My cabinet colleagues and I stood in the House of Assembly to answer those tough questions, address their concerns, and make life better for Nova Scotia families. In this legislative session, government sat for more than 30 days and 150 hours and introduced and passed 30 bills. Some of the bills will create an independent administrator to help Nova Scotians cut electricity use, provide public accountability to communities experiencing emergency department closures, and enact a moratorium on exploration and mining of uranium. The first order to business was to hire an independent firm to review the state of the province’s finances. The report told us that if things didn’t change, Nova Scotia’s debt would be $1.3 billion by 2012. Once government received that report, we immediately began to take steps to put Nova Scotia on a sustainable path. One way we did that was to freeze salaries for MLAs and political staff and end the $45,000 allowance for MLAs who retire or are defeated. Other significant promises government has fulfilled include maximizing jobs from federal infrastructure funds, introducing a new home construction rebate program, cutting eight per cent HST off basic home electricity for Nova Scotians, and hiring a provincial ER advisor to provide leadership to improve access to emergency care. In the face of a $590-million deficit, a growing number of public sector collective agreements up for renewal, and an H1N1 pandemic that has hit Nova Scotia and Canada hard, this government was able to accomplish and focus on key priorities and fulfilling commitments to Nova Scotians. And before government enters the spring session of the legislature where we will introduce what we consider to be our first budget, my government will meet, talk, and engage Nova Scotians from one end of the province to the other. We will ask about what we can all do, together, to make lives better for families, to get the province’s finances back in the black, and to make Nova Scotia the best place in Canada to live and raise a family. -30-last_img read more

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