May 24, 2002
LIBERALS TO VOTE AGAINST SMOKING LEGISLATION
-Conservative crackdown, public reaction, leads to 'right choice says Graham-
(Halifax, NS) Under the leadership of Liberal Leader Danny Graham, the Liberal Caucus has come to the decision that it cannot support the Conservative governments Smoke-Free Places legislation, says Graham.
We have told Nova Scotians and the government that we support a 100 per cent ban of smoking in public places and we remain committed to that position, says Graham. But the actions of the Conservatives in the last 24 hours demonstrate a government unwilling to bend even for one of their own colleagues. Since the government will not improve this bill then the Liberal Caucus will be voting against it.
The Liberal Caucus has been calling for a 100 per cent ban of smoking in public places even before the government introduced its legislation on April 26. Since that time, the government has brought forward amendments that further weaken the legislation.
The decision to vote against this bill was confirmed when the government introduced amendments that, if adopted, could weaken the legislation, states Graham. We hoped that the government would provide an opportunity to debate this bill clause by clause, unfortunately we are not being given that chance.
In the Law Amendments Committee we heard businesses say they want a level playing field. We heard health groups tell us they want protection for the health and wellness of all Nova Scotians. And we listened while municipalities stated they want provincial leadership, says Graham. We listened to those concerns and today we are responding to those concerns.
LIBERAL LEADER DANNY GRAHAM CALLS FOR SMOKE FREE LEGISLATION
(Halifax, NS) The Liberal Caucus says that Nova Scotians need legislation that will protect them from second-hand smoke in public places. The Liberals are calling for a total ban on smoking in all public places and restaurants, effective immediately.
"Second-hand smoke kills too many Nova Scotians each year," says Liberal Leader Danny Graham. "Among our primary priorities is the promotion of improved health and wellness for Nova Scotians."
According to a September 2001 GPIAtlantic study, commissioned by the Nova Scotia Department of Health:
- environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or second-hand smoke, causes approximately 200 deaths per year in Nova Scotia;
- ETS is the leading cause of workplace death;
- second-hand smoke levels in restaurants are twice as high as in other workplaces that do not have smoking restrictions, and in bars and casinos the levels are three to six times as high;
- food service workers have a 50% higher rate of lung cancer than the general population.
"Reducing smoking rates is a key part of the Liberal agenda," stated Graham. "Legislation protecting Nova Scotians from environmental tobacco smoke would reduce both illness and death, as well as the associated costs to our health care system."
Health Minister Jamie Muir recently indicated that smoke-free spaces legislation would be introduced soon, but gave little indication of its contents or when his government would pursue the bill's passage.
Graham added the time is right for the Conservatives to introduce legislation. "The Conservatives should introduce legislation that would be passed in this legislative session and be effective immediately."
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-
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.
REMARKS - Danny Graham on why the Liberals won't support the Conservative's smoking bill:
"It is simply wrong for the government to introduce legislation that draws a distinction between the health of young and old, nighttime patrons and daytime patrons, and food service workers in smoking sections and non-smoking sections."
Danny Graham, May 24, 2002Click here for more
PREMIER NEGLECTING NOVA SCOTIANS INTERESTS
(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham called on Premier Hamm yesterday to take a leadership role in the future of Nova Scotias oil and gas industry.
This issue is important enough for the American Ambassador to Canada, the federal Minister of Natural Resources, the Governor of Maine and the Premier of New Brunswick, said Mr. Graham. Why isnt the future of the oil and gas industry at the top of the priority list for the Premier of Nova Scotia? -more-Click here to see the Chronicle Herald's May 18, 2002 editorial on Nova Scotia's absence from the Saint John's Energy conference - Too Pooped to pipe up, or show up
Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader's Column - April 29, 2002
This is the first column I've written since becoming Leader of The Nova Scotia Liberal Party on April 13. I welcome this unique opportunity to communicate with you directly, and hope this communication will flow both ways. The quality of our Party's ideas will improve over time if you provide candid feedback on these columns. Your opinions matter, and I look forward to receiving them.
Allow me to recognize the outstanding work of Wayne Gaudet, the MLA from Clare, who was the author of this column, and our Interim Leader for the past 22 months. His wisdom and steady hand have served the Liberal Party and our Province well. Our quality of life depends on the tireless dedication of political leaders, like him.-more-
UP UP AND AWAY: TAXES AND DEBT CONTINUE TO RISE
-Downe says gas up now and avoid 2 cent per litre gas tax-
(Halifax, NS) Despite introducing a new fuel tax and adding to the massive increases in user fees already announced, the Tory government is still is adding $273 000 to the debt of the province every day, says Liberal Finance Critic Don Downe.
"Nova Scotians would be smart to head to gas stations right away to avoid the new gas tax," said Downe Thursday afternoon. "From now until midnight is the last tax break you'll ever get from this government."
"From the weeks of Tory budget ads one would expect that as of today the debt would stop increasing," says Downe. "Instead the debt continues to grow at a rate of $273 000 per day, yet John Hamm has the gall to compared his budget to those of Robert Stanfield's?"
The budget presented by Finance Minister Neil LeBlanc today shows the debt of the province will continue to grow by $100 million over the next year. The Department of Finance's own website states that the debt will grow any year where there is a deficit.
In an election interview July 26 ,1999 John Hamm promised to 'ensure the debt will not increase.' Instead, based on figures tabled today by Neil LeBlanc, the debt of the province is scheduled to rise for the next four years, totaling $379 million. Hamm had also stated that his Party's election plans did not include tax increases. However, a two cent per litre increase in gas tax was also announced today.
"I question the priorities of this government," added Downe. "They are raising ambulance fees and cutting funding to Cancer Care Nova Scotia and families in crisis while taking in record revenue."
TORY H2O STRATEGY: MISSING AFTER ONE YEAR, $850,000
-Environment, Health, Agriculture critics join call for release of water strategy-
(Halifax, NS)MLA for Clare Wayne Gaudet used a press conference Thursday morning to demand the Hamm government produce a year-old report on a safe drinking water strategy that was budgeted at close to a million dollars.-more-
Wayne Gaudet - MLA Clare
Russell MacKinnon - Liberal Environment Critic
Jim Smith - Liberal Health Critic-more-
Don Downe - Liberal Agriculture Critic-more-
Click on the following to see Liberal Caucus releases on the Premier's staff salary issue:
THE ESSENTIAL JOHN HAMM
by Wayne Gaudet, MLA Clare
Chronicle Herald, March 18, 2002
I recently thumbed through a book called the Essential Pierre Trudeau. It's basically a book of Mr. Trudeau's positions on various ideas he brought to public life. After reviewing John Hamm's speeches and the Tory election platform, I decided it might be interesting to share some of his essential messages in the last election campaign. One thing for sure, John Hamm is no Pierre Trudeau, or for that matter, neither is he a Robert Stanfield.
"WE CAN PROVIDE QUALITY HEALTH CARE AND BALANCE THE BUDGET." At least that's what John Hamm said he'd do during an election campaign stop on June 22, 1999 at the Cunard Street Children's Centre. John Hamm didn't say he'd balance the budget at the expense of health care. He didn't say he'd balance the budget first then fix health care. The sad truth is that he promised he could deliver one promise without compromising the other. It's no wonder people had such high expectations of John Hamm when he was elected Premier.
Later during the same election campaign John Hamm told an audience at the Yarmouth Hospital, "We don't need to mortgage the future to meet today's health care challenges." Well what are you doing John? What is he doing to meet the health care challenges of today? He's closing acute care beds in rural Nova Scotia, he's shutting down emergency rooms in Cape Breton and across the rest of the province, and he's laying off health care workers in Halifax. That's not what he promised and Liberals are going to remind the people of Nova Scotia how he misled them in 1999.
It's crystal clear in John Hamm's election platform what his main promise was to Nova Scotians. On radio and in print he made the following statement, "As your premier, my first priority will be to fix the health care system. We will make sure that when individual Nova Scotians need health care, it will be there for them."
Health care was John Hamm's first priority in the last election and he repeated that message daily. I find it incredible that John Hamm was able to skillfully deliver such a simple message. Health care didn't require a massive investment to stabilize costs. All that was needed was a pinch of restructuring and a dash of investment.
John Hamm promised to reallocate resources from administration and make a small investment and that would be that. Either it was a case of wishful thinking, a case of pure fiction or perhaps it was a case of the doctor telling the patient to heal thyself.
John Hamm could make his case no plainer then he did in Westville on June 28, 1999 when he said, "Every position that we can eliminate in administration allows us to have one more nurse, technologist or physician, and that's what people are looking for."
So was John Hamm telling the truth when he told an audience at the Lord Nelson Hotel in 1999 that, "First and foremost our priority will be to stabilize our health care system?"
Was he misleading the people when he promised in his platform, "In everything we do we will put the health care needs of Nova Scotians first?" Or did he know what he saying when he told reporters at Province House, "I have dedicated my life to the provision of quality health care in this province. I believe as do all Nova Scotians that health care must be the number one priority of government. It continues to be mine and that of my Caucus. It shall remain so."
If there is any doubt as to what John Hamm fought for in the last election about then it should be dispelled by what John Hamm said at the Dartmouth General Hospital on June 29, 1999: "I fought my first campaign on health care, I'm fighting this campaign on health care, and I'm willing to fight the next campaign on health care."
Perhaps the one time John Hamm was being honest with Nova Scotians was in the Chronicle-Herald, July 25, 1999 when he said:
". . the day that I can't keep my commitments to the people is the day that I'm going to start uninvolving myself in public life."
Nova Scotia Young Liberals