Appointments are patronage, no mistake about it

(Hamm can rationalize himself into 2002, but a dime is a dime.)

Opposition parties are making a mockery of appointments to provincial boards announced by the Hamm government and well they should. What began under the administration of former Liberal premier John Savage as a strict policy to put an end to blatant patronage in Nova Scotia - a commitment reinforced by his successor Premier John Hamm - unravelled to the core this week with a number of the most outlandish political plums handed out in memory. ...

The premier said there certainly are Tories who receive political appointments from the party, because there are a great number of Conservatives in the province. That's why Hamm's party is in power. This is an attempt to make the issue murky. What is clear is that the premier is sending the signal of a return to flagrant political patronage in Nova Scotia, an element that in the past has made this province the laughing stock of the rest of Canada. Let the giggles return.

Truro Daily News, December 20, 2001


Chronicle Herald on the review of the Liberal record on ambulance care

Rick Keller, a partner with Fitch and Associates based in Missouri and a participant in the study, graded the province's ambulance service as being among the top 10 per cent on the continent.

That's pretty high praise for a provincewide system so completely overhauled in so short a timeframe. The Hamm Tories commissioned the review after promising it in their 1999 election campaign. In opposition, the party had strongly criticized the decision of the then ruling Savage Liberals to acquire about 50 independent ambulance operators, and roll them into one service now operated under contract by Emergency Medical Care Inc. (EMC serves all but two areas of the province.)

But the changes in the delivery of ambulance service the Tories once so harshly criticized are now being warmly praised by an expert they hired after coming to government.

Hopefully, they will now be big enough to admit they were wrong, and to embrace a system they, indeed all Nova Scotians, should view with pride.

Chronicle Herald, December 10, 2001


AS GOOD AS YOU GET

Health Minister Jamie Muir wouldn't commit bo buying 10 more ambulances. He said he's pleased with the $100,000 evaluation, even though when in opposition, the Tories criticized the Liberal government for amalgamating ambulance service. . .

John Savage's Liberal government restructured the service beginning in 1995, consolidating 50 areas under one ambulance company, Emergency Medical Care Inc.

In winning the contract, EMC had to deliver faster response times, a consistent, high level of care, professional paramedics and increased reliability.

(Report author) Keller said the $50 million new service is delivering good basic value.

The Daily News, December 7, 2001


MIXED MESSAGES NOTHING TO LAUGH ABOUT

Opinion - Truro Daily News, Monday October 15, 2001

Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm is laughing off allegations that his party is misleading people when they sent out solicitations to thousands of Nova Scotians 12 days ago, but it's no laughing matter. Somehow the Tories got hold of a subscription list, attached it to a form letter, and asked for donations to the provincial party. Unfortunately for the ruling party, the former governing Liberals were on that list as well. -more-


Do as you say

Bluenose Grits say their Tory counterparts broke a compaign pledge recently as they bragged about keeping others. Liberal MLA David Wilson says the Tories, on page 30 of their Blue Book of promises, vowed not to use taxpayers' money on politically motivated advertising. -more-


Glory-seeking Tories co-opting neutral PR office . . . by David Rodenhiser

At first it seemed innocuous when backbench Tory MLAs started showing up in official government press releases paid for by hard-working Nova Scotia taxpayers. But now I'm convinced the Opposition is on to something. -more-


Another consultant. More money wasted.

Once again the Tory government has decided to look elsewhere for help to sell a bill of goods to Nova Scotians. The most recent addition to the Health Department expense sheet is a communications consultant from Toronto, who is being padi $100,000 to develop a communications plan for joint projects with other government departments.-more-


To the Editor by Dr. Jim Smith

I take exception to the Premier's recent comments in the New Glasgow Evening News saying that, "A lot of people are quick off the mark to criticize, but don't have any solution of their own" when it comes to health care. -more-


Scooter Safety

Dr. Jim Smith has it absolutely right in his call for the province to make helmets mandatory for children driving scooters.

This is primarily a matter of making sure our laws keep up with our consumer trends, which lately have seen a rebirth in popularity for scooters.-more-


Nova Scotians are now seeing John Hamm's priorities.

Tory Promises vs Tory Reality






THE WAY YOU CAMPAIGN IS THE WAY YOU GOVERN

LIBERAL LEADER, Wayne Gaudet

January 14, 2002

"Jamie Muir never knew he was being untruthful." That line was the lead in an article that appeared in the Bridgewater Bulletin last May. Addressing the Lunenburg West PC Association on April 27, 2001, Muir admitted that he was "as guilty as everyone else" when he talked about Liberal cuts to health care while campaigning during the last election. Muir went on to say that it wasn't until he became Health Minister that he learned that the budgets for the Health department had actually been increased at about 13 per cent a year under the Liberals, not decreased.

What a conveniently timed realization for the Health Minister. One wonders what he was doing during budget estimates, where Opposition Members have the chance to question the minister of the day about their budget, line by line. And obviously Muir didn't listen when his colleague Neil LeBlanc rose in the Legislature on June 3, 1999 and stated "I want to start off by dispelling a myth. Contrary to popular belief, the Liberal Government has not cut and slashed health care spending over the last six years; in fact, it has added hundreds of millions of dollars to our health care budget."

I reference Muir's speech as it came to mind the other day when a columnist in the National Post expressed the opinion that "how you campaign is how you govern." I immediately thought of the glaring example of Jamie Muir's admitting that he campaigned supposedly not knowing that health care spending was rising in the province. He wasn't straight forward with Nova Scotians then, and we continue to see this style. From his denials about cuts to hospitals in June of 2000 that were happening, to his negotiations with nurses and health care workers this past year while at the same time secretly polling to find support to force them back to work, Jamie Muir has consistently exhibited this less than up front approach.

(I note that the Premier recently gave his Health Minister an endorsement, saying that he didn't shuffle Muir out of the portfolio because he was lobbied to keep him there. Too bad that the Premier's much promised Lobbyist's Registration Act in not in force. Then Nova Scotians might learn who has enough influence over John Hamm to convince him to keep Jamie Muir at Health.)

The most striking example of the 'that was then, this is now' campaign promise versus reality style of the Hamm Tories was their spending commitment for health. For an approximately $46 million administration cut they would fix health care. But what did they actually do? Well, they certainly didn't cut administration, as one needs only to look at the size and salaries of Jamie Muir's staff. And did they cut $46 million? Not according to the 2000 and 2001 Public Accounts. Instead, in 2000 the Tories spent $199 million more on health in 2000 than in 1999, and $157 million more in 2001 than in 1999. Do you feel better served?

I don't raise these points to win old battles but because of recent actions by the government. It is the midpoint of the Hamm government's mandate, and it is obvious that the Tories are thinking election. From expensive communication advice to cabinet, to an obsession by Hamm's handlers to get him interviewed in front of a bank of Nova Scotia flags, to a series of campaign style backdrops for his Ministers (at taxpayer expense), the Hamm government's newest priority is not health, education or finances. It's the next election. And based on the way they campaigned during the last one, don't expect a lot of straight talk over the next two years.

***

The Nova Scotia Liberal Caucus has applied for intervenor status at the upcoming Utilities and Review Board hearings into the Nova Scotia Power request for a rate increase.

The Liberal Caucus believes it is important for Nova Scotians to be well represented at the hearings. If you have any questions or issues you would like raised during the hearings I urge you to contact the Liberal Caucus Office. You can leave us a message toll-free at 1-877-778-1917 or call our office at (902) 424 8637, or email: gaudetw@gov.ns.ca


TRANSPLANT CANCELLATION COULD LEAD TO NURSE LOSS

NEWS RELEASE by Dr. Jim Smith,

Liberal Health Critic

January 10, 2002

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Health Critic Dr. Jim Smith is today saying the potential loss of the liver transplant program at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre shows the Hamm government is lacking leadership and foresight on important health care issues.

“The possible loss of the liver transplant program puts a considerable strain on other transplant programs,” said Smith. “Patients who experience long wait periods for liver transplants can experience problems with other organs and need additional services of a full transplant team.”

The QEII decided not to advertise for two surgeons required to revive the liver transplant program after losing two doctors in the spring. Since May 2001, this program has been suspended. The QEII was the only hospital in Atlantic Canada that performed liver transplants. Atlantic Canadians now must be put on hospital waiting lists in other parts of the country.

“The liver transplant program also produces research grant monies from pharmaceutical companies for clinical trials for the hospital and the Dalhousie Medical School,” stated Smith. “If this program is cancelled those dollars will be relocated.”

Smith is concerned that the loss of this program will result in highly skilled nurses relocating outside the province and says this demonstrates the government’s devaluing and under- appreciation of the nursing profession.

“Nurses specializing in organ transplants will move if they are faced with reduced transplant programs and hours in surgery because they will lose their skill sets,” stated Smith. “The government should realize the importance of ensuring the nurses we have remain in the province.”

“The Hamm government is not taking a leadership role in providing important health services to Nova Scotians,” stated Smith. “Instead this government is more determined to balance the budget regardless of the fact that peoples lives are at risk.”

—30—



'PERCEPTION PREMIER': MORE INTERESTED IN IMAGE THAN RESULTS

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Wayne Gaudet says Premier John Hamm’s account of his past two years shows someone more interested in how he is perceived than in actual results. -more-


During the last election Tory leader John Hamm promised to hire new nurses and open hospital beds across Nova Scotia if elected. Listen to John Hamm's Election Promises


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