Halifax—The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia released its annual Nova Scotia Alternative Budget today, a week in advance of the current government’s tabling what is likely to be its last provincial budget before it calls an election. It is thus timely to hold our government to account for the choices it has made over its mandate.
“If the government actually tables a zero deficit budget, this is only an indication that the government has failed to use its fiscal capacity to tackle the most pressing problems facing our province. The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget 2017 exposes the extent to which the current government has been too short-sighted,” James Sawler, Economist at Mount St. Vincent and member of the Alternative Budget Working Group.
“The alternative budget shows how the government could have already made significant investments that, while directly improving the lives of Nova Scotians, would also have provided a significant employment boost and maintained the province’s fiscal health,” says Sawler.
“The alternative budget invests in our people today, allowing our communities to reap the benefits now, as well as in the future,” according to Tammy Findlay, Professor of Political and Canadian Studies at Mount St. Vincent University and a member of the working group.
“Investing in an Early Learning and Child Care system can address the high costs to families, low wages of the educators, and lack of spaces. The long term benefits for our children, families and society cannot be underestimated. Healthier children, addressing inequality, a more productive workforce, keeping and attracting young families to our province, --the benefits outweigh the cost,” says Findlay.
“Over the last few years Nova Scotians of all ages have increasingly felt the impact of the slow erosion of the province’s public health care system,” said the Nova Scotia Health Coalition’s provincial coordinator, Chris Parsons. “This alternative budget would begin to reverse this trend by removing user fees on ambulances and pharmacare which punish the sick, by reversing recent cuts to long term care, and by expanding and improving front-line services like mental health, primary care, and oral health.”
"Today's alternative budget illustrates what students have been saying for years, budgets are about priorities," said Aidan McNally, Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia. "Our government can and must invest to immediately reduce tuition fees, eliminate provincial student debt, and restore funding to our post-secondary institutions."
“The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget creates employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, to provide the services Nova Scotians need, and for training and reskilling workers for green jobs anchored in local communities across the province. Building green, inclusive, and thriving communities benefit everyone,” says Christine Saulnier, CCPA-NS Director.
The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget 2017: Building Green, Inclusive, Thriving Communities, can be downloaded free via www.policyalternatives.ca.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at 902-240-0926 (cell) or by email at [email protected].