Pictou-Advocate-opinion

School construction projects show decisions are political, not based on needs

Opinion

To the Editor:
I keep waiting for Premier Stephen McNeil to move past petty, political moves like the partisan hirings of Glennie Langille ($85,000), Laurel Broten ($210,000), Laurie Graham ($160,000) and Marilla Stephenson ($106,000) and get on with running the Province.
But while I wait, things seem to be getting worse.

Last week, the auditor general highlighted three school construction projects that suggest things are only getting more political at the Cabinet level.

By “approving” new schools for Liberal-held Eastern Passage ($21 million) and both the premier’s and Minister of Education’s constituencies ($29 and $30 million), the McNeil Liberals threw water in the face of Department of Education staff that had evaluated – and ranked – the needs of all communities across the entire province.

The McNeil Liberals turfed those objective rankings and, instead, made purely political decisions to build schools that were ranked #26 (the premier’s), #28 (minister Casey’s) and not at all (Eastern Passage).  These schools got approved but the school projects objectively ranked 11 through 18 did not.

In other words, children in communities where the Department said the need was more urgent got ripped off.

The Auditor General asked, “Why these three schools but not the ones with a higher need?”
To this day, nobody can provide any “evidence to support why these projects were approved ahead of other projects ranked higher by the evaluating committees …”
Perhaps the evidence is in the no evidence?

To add insult to injury, the Liberals remain indignant about it. Last week Liberal member after Liberal member defended the schools as their political right … an entitlement if you will.

The Province must move past this old-style, pork barrel politics.  I stand against it and instead choose to stand with Ivany who called for “a new politics” and the Auditor General who wants fair, necessary spending.

Where will you stand?

And, oh yeah, the Frank H.  was #11.

Tim Houston,
MLA, Pictou East

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