Homework must be done before plans made


To the Editor:

The 2013 McNeil Liberal platform was a nice glossy document that contained some good ideas but what it didn’t say turned out to be what mattered.

Oh, sure, it talked about “caring for seniors” but it never mentioned the plan to ambush the seniors pharmacare program. When they sprung that gem on seniors last year, they pitched the changes as a “good thing” designed to “improve program sustainability”. They even told Nova Scotians that seniors groups supported the changes. That wasn’t true.

To prove a point, I asked the same question over and over at public accounts committee: “How much more will seniors pay with these changes?”

Eventually, under pressure, the McNeil Liberals admitted that seniors would pay $10 million more! This was never about sustainability, it was about money. As the media storm worsened, they cancelled the changes (yay!) and said that they needed to do their homework.

You may remember all of this. It was a stressful time for our seniors as many faced the possibility of having to drop out of the plan and go without coverage. Then, to add insult to injury, the premier spent $115,000 of your tax dollars to apologize for the mishap. Imagine that, you had to pay for your apology.

Well, here we go again: last month Premier McNeil announced SHIFT — “a 50-point Liberal action plan designed to help senior Nova Scotians.” Once again plan details were wrapped in a glossy document and once again we are left to wonder what sinister plans are hiding behind the pretty pictures. The trust is gone.

I am not against reviewing, assessing and improving programs but the homework must be first not later!

We need a thoughtful, compassionate government. We haven’t had that in almost eight years. I’d say we’re due.

Tim Houston
MLA, Pictou East

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