Budget shows Nova Scotia Liberals’ heads are stuck in the sand

Halifax – The Nova Scotia Liberal government has its head in the sand when it comes to delivering public services,” says CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen, in response to the provincial budget announced today. “We are disappointed that government has not responded to the significant needs Nova Scotians have for greater access to health care and increased staffing and beds in long-term care, home support and acute care.”

McFadgen asked government representatives how much of the $2.8 million in the budget, to implement the findings of the Expert Panel on Long Term Care, would be used to hire additional staff. The answer was none. The money will primarily be used to help address concerns about bedsores and service coordination.

“We hoped that the budget would also provide for new beds in long term care. We were told that part of the funding will go toward planning for new facilities, but they will not open in the near future,” says McFadgen. “That’s alarming when taking into consideration that the Liberals promised 120 new beds in the budget, but two hospitals in Cape Breton are closing. Where are the seniors waiting there expected to go?”

“$2.8 million is not nearly enough to implement the panel’s recommendations. We’re concerned that government is not listening to our call to reinstate the bursary for Continuing Care Assistant training. The Province must rebuild the long term care sector with qualified staff and good jobs.”

“We also asked about the Early Childhood Educators’ bursary currently offered to underrepresented groups,” says McFadgen. “We asked if the Province will extend the bursary to all Nova Scotians. We also asked how many spots are being subsidized at the Nova Scotia Community College versus private schools.”

McFadgen asked, “What are the Province’s reasons for pursuing a P3 deal to build the new highway?” The answer given was that P3s get the job done faster. However, that has been proven to be untrue. “We also asked for a copy of the ‘Value for Money Analysis’ for the P3 deal for Highway 104. We were told they will take our request back and find out if that’s possible.”