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NS election: All-candidates debate on social issues last night

The Council of Canadians was part of a coalition of organizations who organized an all-candidates debate last night, entitled Fairness for Nova Scotians. Topics of the debate included poverty reduction and housing, health care, post-secondary education, trans and homophobia, mental health supports and incarceration, environmental racism and green jobs. 

Lead organizers for the event were the NS Health Coalition and the Canadian Federation of Students – NS. The CCPA-NS was one of the partner organizations and Christine Saulnier, Director for the organization, moderated the debate.

To watch the debate on youtube, click here. You can also see the full list of questions and groups involved in the organizing here.

The questions most relevant to our core campaigns were:

4. access to health care (starts around 0:42:55 of the video), in which the Green candidate focused mostly on redistribution of income and collaborative care facilities; the Liberal candidate talked about support to the North End Health Centre and how the party has a plan for the VG (they have been discussing a P3 model for the rebuild), and their proposed new Bayers Lake facility (which is not very accessible by foot or public transit); the NDP candidate debunked those Liberal points and talked about the NDP platform promise of 30$Million for Community health practices, and; the PC candidate talked about quality of care vs. delivery of service along with how bad wait times are in NS. 

5. long term care (0:51:00), in which the Liberal candidate spoke about accessibility and 100$M to small business to become more accessible (they maybe misunderstood the question?); the NDP candidate talked about our aging demographic, cuts to nursing homes and long wait lists (over 1000 days) and no new long-term care beds over the past 4 years, and how the NDP would re-implement the cuts over the past 2 budgets to help with bottleneck and demands mostly on women who do much unpaid care; PC candidate called this past 4 years “disrespectful to seniors” and they would consult and develop a long-term continuing care strategy; the Green candidate said short-term: fund beds, long-term: move towards a decentralized model of care so people can stay in their homes, or in small community-based care facilities that the Greens would help fund.

9. environmental racism (1:25:00), in which the Liberal candidate indicated they are addressing the issue at Boat Harbour, with fracking (maintaining the moratorium) and Harrietsfield; the NDP candidate referenced their introduction of Bill 111 and the Environmental Bill of Rights, how they would deny projects like Alton Gas, and the need for legislation, financial resources, and political will (which hasn’t existed to date); the PC candidate referenced what happened to the Acadians and the need for more conversations and consultation, and; the Green candidate talked about the precautionary principle being key to projects like Alton Gas, fracking, glyphosate spraying, and how they believe in going beyond duty to consult – “We have the duty to get permission because we are on their [Indigenous, specifically Mi’kmag] land.”

10. environmental justice (1:33:00), in which the NDP candidate talked about focusing on clean targets, making the Government as an organization carbon neutral, the importance of sustainable transportation and programs for renewable energy creation, the Environmental Bill of Rights and creating an independent Environment Commissioner; the PC candidate talked about the need for a balance between the environment and the economy, and highlighted their proposed clean air act, that they would make the big polluters pay but no new taxes on households (which could cost 612$ per year per household), and EGSPA (the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act); the Green party candidate highlighted the need to create a carbon tax now, which they would provide money back to low income households through a dividend system since we can’t afford the unexpected costs of random weather events and we don’t have any food or energy security, and that a sustainable economy is the future, and; the Liberal candidate said they would continue efforts to reduce carbon, develop real solutions and work on international agreements.

The Council has also produced a list of questions to ask your candidates here.

Nova Scotians head to the polls on May 30th. To find your riding, your list of candidates or how to vote, check out the Elections Nova Scotia website.