Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston speaks during a COVID-19 briefing in Halifax, on Sept. 29.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia’s new government said Tuesday finding solutions for the province’s ailing health system is its top priority, but opposition parties said the Progressive Conservatives should also be focused on housing.

Lieutenant-Governor Arthur LeBlanc delivered the new government’s first Speech from The throne Tuesday, formally introducing the Tories’ agenda ahead of what will be the first full in-person session of the legislature since the start of the pandemic.

The Throne Speech repeated many of the promises the Tories made during the summer’s election campaign, including investing heavily to recruit and retain more doctors to address labour shortages in the health system. The party’s election platform projected $553-million in new spending during the first year in office – including $430-million just for health care.

Story continues below advertisement

“We have to be honest about the challenges in our health system,” Mr. LeBlanc said, reading the government’s Throne Speech. “The challenges are significant, but they can be addressed, and doing so is the No. 1 goal of our government.”

But the speech included just one line about housing, despite rapidly rising rents and a lack of affordable homes in many areas of the province, especially in the Halifax area.

“There is a housing crisis in Nova Scotia,” Mr. LeBlanc said. “We have a plan to address this crisis.”

After the speech, Premier Tim Houston told reporters his government’s housing plan would be coming soon.

“We hear the concerns of tenants and Nova Scotians and we will put together an integrated plan that we will be willing to share in the coming days,” he said. “We will be putting forward a proper solution for how we address the [housing] supply issue.”

The Premier’s reassurances did not placate NDP Leader Gary Burrill, who pointed out the Throne Speech made no mention of a rent cap, homelessness or rising house prices.

“To have the word ‘housing’ appear once this is more than a missing word, a missing sentence, a missing paragraph,” Mr. Burrill said. “This is a gaping absence and gap in the government’s whole sense of where they are at the moment in Nova Scotia.”

Story continues below advertisement

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin also wondered about the lack of detail on housing and said the Tories needed to address rising rents and to increase the housing stock in the province.

“To have only one line in the speech is a mistake, but we are early in the session and we will give them an opportunity to see what they will bring forward,” Mr. Rankin said.

On the health front, the government offered few timelines or a sense of what kind of legislation it would table this session, but it said it would offer incentives to recruit and retain more health care workers. It also pledged to give people access to “timely primary care,” and it promised to support paramedics by improving 911 response times.

The government said it would attract doctors with a new pension plan for full-time physicians, and it promised to increase surgical hours in order to reduce wait times for medical procedures. It also said it would invest in universal access to mental-health services, as part of “the most progressive mental health support system in Canada.”

Aside from health care, the Tories said they would adopt legislation this session for fixed election dates, which would make Nova Scotia the last province to adopt the measure. They also promised to improve the province’s Freedom of Information laws and to return the proceedings of the public accounts committee to their prior format.

The previous Liberal government restricted proceedings to monthly meetings that dealt with previous reports of the province’s auditor-general. The Tories said the committee would be allowed to call witnesses at its discretion and would sit as many as 40 times in a calendar year.

Story continues below advertisement

“My intent is that committee will meet frequently, certainly more frequently than it did in the last few years,” Mr. Houston said.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies