By Stephen McNeil
We’ve seen rural Nova Scotia lose 6,500 jobs in the last year.
That’s 6,500 more Nova Scotians that will have a harder time making ends meet, putting healthy food on the table and keeping their home warm.
We’ve tried to force the Dexter government to pay attention to the rural job crisis in Nova Scotia, but the NDP refuses to listen. Instead of acknowledging the problems facing our economy and tackling the major issues, the Dexter government is proceeding with a piecemeal approach to economic development.
We cannot afford a piecemeal approach to economic development; we need a holistic approach that will focus on improving our economic fundamentals. We need to address our taxes that are the highest in the country, the fastest growing power rates, and sky-high fuel prices. We will continue to see businesses struggle until we address these issues.
Not only is the Dexter government ignoring the fundamentals, they are making tax, power, and fuel costs worse.
The NDP said they would balance the books without increasing taxes, but they increased the HST by two per cent.
The NDP admits our power rates are too high, but they refuse to take immediate action to reduce power rates and is taking no action to combat NSP’s 10 per cent rate hike in 2012.
The NDP said the way we tax gasoline in the province is immoral, but they refused to fix the problem once they were in office.
First Contract Arbitration
In the last session, the NDP introduced first contract arbitration. Employers said this would threaten future business investment in Nova Scotia. We listened to the concerns of employers and offered amendments that would remove the threat to future investment; the Dexter government and the Conservatives voted against these amendments.
There are 6,500 fewer rural Nova Scotians with work and life is getting more expensive for everyone.
As life continues to get more expensive and there are fewer people employed, the Dexter government is slashing and cutting our social programs.
In the last year we’ve learned of $55 million in cuts to health care and $33 million in cuts to education. Under the Dexter government we are experiencing higher taxes, a higher cost of living and fewer social programs.
The Liberals have offered real solutions to these problems. We will continue to fight the misguided decisions of the Dexter government in 2012.
Review Tax System
We’ve asked the Dexter government to review our tax system so that we can find ways to make it more competitive, but they refused.
We’ve asked the Dexter government to remove the tax-on-tax on gas and they refused, even though this would reduce the price of gas by almost four cents per litre.
We’ve asked the Dexter government to break Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly so our power bills would be cheaper and they refused.
We’ve presented a plan to the Dexter government that would see 100 new doctors brought to Nova Scotia in the next five years and they refused to adopt it.
We have real solutions to taxes, power costs, fuel prices, and health care wait times. In 2012, we will continue to push our ideas forward so that Nova Scotians can feel some relief.
We are committed to creating a more compassionate, innovative and competitive Nova Scotia. In 2012, neither our focus nor resolve will waiver.
We know Nova Scotians need relief and that is what Liberals will work to deliver.
Stephen McNeil is Annapolis MLA and leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, the official opposition.