Houston seeks more from budget

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WESTVILLE – Opposition leader Tim Houston says he likes some things about the provincial budget.

However, he says some things he was looking for are missing from the budget Finance Minister Karen Casey delivered on Tuesday.

The Progressive Conservative Leader, who represents Pictou East in the Legislature, says the Liberal budget lacks vision and shows continued mismanagement, including on the health care file.

The government’s fourth consecutive balanced budget, estimates a surplus of $33.6 million with revenue of $11.01 billion and expenses, after consolidation adjustments, of $10.98 billion. It also projects balanced budgets in each of the following three years.”

“This government lost all credibility in delivering health care the moment they refused to acknowledge the health care crisis,” he said. “Health spending has gone up in the last few years, but Nova Scotians don’t see that money making a difference.”

The Tory leader said he is pleased with the increase of $11.7 million to support mental health services. Overall spending is earmarked at $295.5 million. But he sees a disconnection between the government and front-line workers, such as no new money for Emergency Health Services.

He says he is pleased with the increase of $11.7 million to support mental health services. Overall spending is earmarked at $295.5 million.

“Nova Scotians living with mental illness and poor mental health have been pleading for relief from this Liberal government,” he said. “I’m pleased that these gaps are being acknowledged and efforts are being made to improve these crucial services.”

He noted his intent to create a separate department for Addictions and Mental Health.

Houston also pointed to economic risks the government is taking, suggesting it is not accounting a potential liability for a provincial contribution towards a new effluent treatment plant at Northern Pulp given that the existing lease regarding Boat Harbour could be broken.

Casey highlighted specific funding for northern Nova Scotia that includes Highlights in Budget 2019-20 for northern Nova Scotia include ongoing funds to twin Highway 104 eastward to Antigonish, completing renovations at the Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School in Sutherland’s River, as well as funding for 11 mental health and addictions staff to support an adolescent outreach program in 41 schools in western and northern Nova Scotia.