5 Experts Speak Out Against the Liberals’ health plan

Dr. John Ross:

I think it’s going to be administrative upheaval and a lot of busywork and cost us a fair amount of money in terms of severance packages and just the confusion that will ensue. I think at the beginning it will cause havoc. It’ll be a complete distractor.

Bruce Saunders, board chairman, Cumberland Health Authority:

Mr. McNeil plans to dismantle a successful “health authority” structure to save $13 million. The daily cost of the entire provincial health-care system is approximately $10.7 million. Does he seriously plan to destroy the current system of governance to save approximately one day’s operating expense?

Hattie Dyck, former newspaper reporter:

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone in rural Nova Scotia would want to be governed by one super health board for the total province and one for the IWK Children’s Hospital which is what Liberal Leader Stephen MacNeil is advocating.

CUPE Nova Scotia:

The news out of Alberta that the health minister there has fired the entire Board of Alberta Health Services should serve as a wakeup call for those who are pushing the idea of a so-called “superboard” here in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Nurses Union:

There has been much public discussion over the past year concerning plans to amalgamate district health authorities. In the past, Nova Scotia has undergone several variations of health care reform, causing disarray in the system to the detriment of nurses and the patients they care for. Future changes threaten to invite labour unrest, employer instability, and challenges to job security as well as seniority levels – all distractions from real and pressing needs in health care.

Shifting to super boards leads to more expensive administration costs. Alberta saw an $80 million increase in administration spending after implementing a super board in their province, over and above the cost of making the initial switch.


Labi Kousoulis and Joachim Stroink explain the Liberal jobs plan

While the Liberal Leader has been in hiding this summer, inviting media to his Caucus office for interviews instead of taking part in public media scrums, a few of his Halifax candidates have been less closed-lipped.

The NDP repayable loan to a world-class Cape Breton golf course? Liberal staff criticized it. Liberal MLAs would not comment on it. The Liberal Leader was not available for reaction. But the Liberal candidate for Inverness? Eventually, he admitted he liked the jobs created.

And as CBC interviews candidates in Halifax from the three political parties (the Mother Corp interviewing some candidates on the rest of the Mainland or the Island, or even Dartmouth, would be appreciated) you can begin to piece together some policy planks of the Liberal platform.

Labi Kousoulis, running in Halifax Citadel, wants to get the economy going. How will he do it? He would not invest in the Port Hawkesbury Mill. He would invest in Nova Scotia companies. Which ones? He doesn’t say. What would the newly unemployed Port Hawkesbury Paper workers do? He doesn’t say. He does say that the Liberal Party is consistently the only party to offer solutions to problems. Which is news to Nova Scotians – since Liberals have not publicly offered any solutions.

Joachim Stroink, offered an answer to what all the unemployed workers in the Strait Region might do. They could work in “green” fracking. While Stroink makes it clear he does not support regular fracking, he does think Nova Scotia could be a “leader in innovation in fracking.” When pressed to answer questions about the definition of “green” fracking, he could not say.

NDP MLA JIm Morton, amused by the very idea of “green” fracking, issued a press release after the Liberal’s interview.

Jim Morton: For most Nova Scotians the jury is still out on fracking. Up until a few days ago the Liberals have said they were in the same boat. But now it appears Stephen McNeil has made up his mind before all the evidence has been collected. We know Stephen McNeil doesn’t support our shipbuilders, our forestry workers, or our information technology specialists – but he does support our ‘green frackers’.

Time and time again, we’ve listened to Stephen McNeil oppose investments to create and protect good jobs in every region of Nova Scotia. But when it’s the Liberals’ turn to answer what they would do differently, their response is an empty catch phrase about something that doesn’t exist.

While some people jokingly explained Joachim Stroink’s “green” fracking, saying it “doesn’t contaminate groundwater with methane, it infuses it with puppies,” we think the larger point of both the Liberal candidate’s interviews is that their party simply doesn’t have a plan to replace all those Port Hawkesbury Paper jobs, or the IBM jobs the NDP fought for and won, or the Halifax Shipyard contract, or the Cabot Links expansion.

Much like “green” fracking, the Liberal’s “Nova Scotia First” is an empty catch phrase for something that does not exist.

Go on take the money and run

Chris d'Entremont does on the attack over Liberal trust funds.

Chris d’Entremont goes on the attack over Stephen McNeil and the Liberal trust funds.

Argyle PC MLA Chris d’Entremont went on the attack this week, saying Stephen McNeil must come clean about the $2.3 million tainted Liberal trust fund money.

In a press release, d’Entremont said: “The biggest test of Stephen McNeil’s leadership was deciding what to do with the tainted Liberal trust fund money, but instead of washing his hands of it, he continues to hide the details… It’s time for McNeil to release all the details regarding the tainted money, including the constitution of the trust, and clean-up the Party bank account to where it should be, without ever having had the tainted trust fund money around to pay for expenses.”

In a discussion about a bill about government transparency, d’Entremont explained exactly what he wanted to see from the Liberal leader:

The one big decision that the member for Annapolis had to do as Leader, the one test that Nova Scotians can look at to see if he’s fit to be a Premier, was whether to use the tainted trust funds his leadership inherited from the dark days of previous Liberal regimes. Instead, by all appearances he chose to use the money – money over principle. Instead of coming clean with Nova Scotians and saying we have ample grounds to suspect some or all of this money came from tollgating, he chose to allow his Party to use the trust money; instead of being transparent and saying we’re just going to use it, the current Leader allowed the money to flow until it was pried from his grasp; and instead of being transparent and just admitting he was being used, they created a web involving internally restricted funds.

If they hadn’t had the use of those trust funds for all those years, how, without huge borrowing, could the Liberals have spent money on expensive advertising and polling? Not just before they were forced to get rid of the fund, Madam Speaker, even in the last year, because of the shape of their books today, would be vastly different if the Liberal Leader had to decide they would have nothing to do with that money.

Who did they transfer the funds to? Name names. In specifics, who are the current trustees or directors who control the money, and what ties have they had with the Liberal Party over the years? Because Nova Scotians will want to be able to see and judge whether the money has been put out of the reach of the Liberals.

Disclose who paid for any part of the bill, for the polling, for the research and advertising done, since they were forced to give up the funds…

Maybe that trust fund on the side is doing some polling for them; maybe they’re doing some advertising for them. We don’t know, because they won’t tell us.

The press are loathe to report on the Liberal’s trust fund. Perhaps speeches like Chris d’Entremont’s will encourage some investigative journalism.

We welcome any Liberal MLA to email us a rebuttal to d’Entremont’s comments.


With the Nova Scotia NDP launching their new web site, all three parties have undergone a transformation in their web presence over the last two years.

We would like you, dear reader, to visit each site and critique your experience. Email us your feedback in 150 words.

The NDP's new web site, launched last week.

The NDP’s new web site, launched last week. Visit all three sites and let us know your thoughts on each portal.