September 21, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

For Immediate Release

GRAHAM TO RUN IN HALIFAX CITADEL

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham today announced his intentions to seek the nomination in the riding of Halifax Citadel in the upcoming general election.


“I have always said that I would run in a Halifax seat because that is where I have lived for most of the last 20 years,” said Graham. “My primary reasons for seeking the nomination in this riding are the same as most prospective candidates. My wife and I live in this riding and our children attend school in Halifax Citadel.” Click here for more


Sepember 20, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

For Immediate Release

GRAHAM ANNOUNCES NEW CRITIC ROLES

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham announced changes today to the critic responsibilities for the Liberal Caucus.


“The caucus has done a tremendous job representing the people of Nova Scotia,” said Graham. “Today’s shuffle gives the caucus a chance to expand on the vast experience and knowledge they have gained over the last three years.” Click here for more


August 30, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

For Immediate Release

PREMIER HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO

(Halifax, NS) Premier John Hamm must explain why he misled Nova Scotians about his infrastructure priorities, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.

“On August 12, the premier told reporters that the harbour clean-up was on his priority list for federal infrastructure funding, and made no distinction between its priority and that of road work,” said Graham. “However at that time he had already sent his list to Ottawa and it did not include the harbour clean-up as one of his priorities.”

As a result of Graham’s challenge to publicly release his priority list for the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), the Premier recently said that both highways and the Halifax Harbour clean-up were on his list, and stated that he had not ranked the projects.

However, a letter dated July 31 from Premier Hamm to the then federal minister of infrastructure was obtained by the Liberal Caucus yesterday. In that letter the premier states that he had instructed his officials to identify federal funding for the clean-up “outside of CSIF.” In addition, despite the Premier’s claim that his priorities were not ranked, the letter lists four highway proposals in order of importance, with the top one beginning in the Premier’s riding.

“There is no doubt that Premier Hamm intended to leave the impression that he was backing the clean-up project when it clearly was not the case,” added Graham. “It is time for him to explain why he sold out the harbour clean up and misled the people of Nova Scotia.”

In the past two days the premier appears to have offered no public comment on this issue.

—30—


August 01, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

For Immediate Release

DECREASED BUDGET BAD NEWS FOR TOURISM

(Halifax, NS) Given the fact that tourism has been steadily declining in Nova Scotia since the Conservative government took office, Liberal Leader Danny Graham is questioning why the department is spending almost $1.5 million less on its marketing budget than it did last year.

“Tourism in Nova Scotia has been decreasing for three years,” said Graham. “Does it make sense to reduce the marketing budget of the department given that promotion is an essential component in advertising our province to potential visitors?”

According to the Department of Tourism and Culture, so far this year the number of visitors to the province is down six per cent from the same time period last year. This follows visitor decreases of nine per cent in 2001 and two per cent in 2000. In addition to the continued decline in visitors, tourism revenues have also fallen. In 2000 revenues were recorded at $1.25 billion while 2001 reported revenues of $1.22 billion.

“Every other province in Atlantic Canada has increased their tourism marketing budgets for this year except Nova Scotia,” said Graham. “Other provinces realize the importance of marketing to a successful tourism season, it’s too bad Nova Scotia’s minister of tourism doesn’t.”

PEI doubled its tourism marketing budget for this year while New Brunswick increased its budget by about $2 million and Newfoundland contributed an additional $1 million.

Graham is also concerned the Conservative government is trying to hide the decline in the province’s tourism industry by only revealing positive statistics.

“I hope the Conservative government doesn’t try to conceal what the statistics are saying,” added Graham. “The fact is tourism is down and that is going to have an impact on Nova Scotians involved in this industry; particularly small, local business owners who rely on a strong tourism sector. Investing in marketing is one of the bests way to ensure that tourism will thrive in Nova Scotia. ”

Click here for background information

—30—


July 11, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

For Immediate Release

GRAHAM: CN COMMITTED TO PROVIDE RAIL SERVICE

(Sydney, NS) Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway’s plan to discontinue rail service means CN must provide the uninterrupted service, Liberal Leader Danny Graham said yesterday before a Utility and Review Board hearing in Sydney.

The CBCNS Railway took over the Truro-to-Sydney line from CN Rail in 1993 based on an agreement by CN that it would continue to operate the line in the event CBCNS Railway withdrew its freight rail services.

“In a 1993 agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia, CN committed that there would be no break in service to the Truro-to-Sydney line,” said Graham. “I urged the URB panel to request that CN appear before it and delay any decision on CBCNS’s plans for the Point Tupper-to-Sydney portion of the line until they have had a chance to hear CN on its intentions.”

The URB, which has set aside two days to hear from concerned parties, is considering CBCNS Railway’s application to abandon the 161 kilometre Point Tupper-to-Sydney section of its Truro-to-Sydney operation.

“Our over-riding concern in this matter is not which company operates the line, but that rail service continue,” said Graham.

The rail line is a key ingredient to helping industrial Cape Breton become the self-sufficient economic leader it was, and could be again, by attracting businesses to the area, added Graham.

—30—

June 27, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

For Immediate Release

GOVERNMENT MUST PROVIDE LEADERSHIP ON RAILWAY

(Halifax, NS) The Conservative government should be taking a leadership role in the negotiations surrounding the future of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway between St. Peter’s Junction and Sydney, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.

The railway applied to the Utility and Review Board in April to discontinue service on the 160 kms of rail line between the two locations.

“The province has an important role to play in bringing all of the stakeholders together and assisting with negotiations,” said Graham. “The government has known since October 2001 that the railway was in jeopardy but chose not to act. Even today the position of government on this issue is unknown.”

“This is another example of the government allowing the economic future of Nova Scotia to be driven by external forces,” said Graham. “Last month the premier sat back while New Brunswick called for hearings on the future of Nova Scotia’s oil and gas. Now the government is taking that same passive approach with vital infrastructure in Cape Breton.”

The fact is this rail line is directly connected to the future of economic development in Cape Breton, said Graham. “Infrastructure is necessary for economic development in Cape Breton. Without this line operating, that economic development will be hindered, and businesses that provide employment and revenue to Cape Breton will be in serious jeopardy.”

It is time that the government realizes the vital importance of this rail line to Cape Breton and begins to facilitate meetings that will bring all the partners together, added Graham.

—30—

May 24, 2002
Danny Graham
Liberal Leader

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 government’s 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-


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





CONSERVATIVES FAILING TO LEAD ON INSURANCE

(Halifax, NS) The Conservative government should stop using the UARB hearings as an excuse for not addressing insurance issues in the province and instead establish an all-party committee to examine broader issues concerning insurance, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.


On February 1, 2002 the Conservative government referred the issue of rising automobile insurance rates to the UARB. The hearings began September 23, but will only address the issue of whether or not automobile insurance rates in the province are too high. The Liberals, however, believe that elected representatives should be seeking answers to all the questions Nova Scotians have on their increasing rates. Click here for more


Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader’s Column - September 23, 2002

The recent debacle about the request for funding under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund raises significant concerns about the provincial government's ability to manage our business effectively and professionally. More specifically, I am concerned that the Tories confrontational approach to federal-provincial relations is jeopardizing our ability to maximize federal benefits for Nova Scotia.


In early August, the premier was asked whether the Halifax Harbour cleanup was included in a list of priorities he supplied to the federal government under the CSIF. His response left the impression the cleanup was part of the request, along with badly needed highway construction. Click here for more


EDUCATION ANNOUNCEMENTS: HOW ABOUT ONE FOR THIS MANDATE AND THIS SCHOOL YEAR?

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham is calling on Jane Purves to announce education commitments for this school year, not for a mandate that may never come.


Last week Education Minister Purves announced funding to reduce class sizes, but the money will not actually be committed until next Spring’s budget. As well, the class-size reduction will not begin until September of 2003, with the decrease in class size for Grade Two not occurring until 2005. Click here for more


HAMM MUST DRAFT NEW INFRASTRUCTURE LETTER

(Halifax, NS) After more than a week of conflicting stories on provincial infrastructure priorities, Liberal Leader Danny Graham is urging Premier Hamm and HRM Mayor Peter Kelly to produce some concrete results at this morning’s meeting.


“Anything less than a written commitment from the premier detailing his priorities is unacceptable,” said Graham. “The premier should state exactly what infrastructure funds he plans on obtaining.” Click here for more


Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader’s Column - September 2, 2002

Last December my family and I were living in Ottawa. I was on leave from my law practice in Halifax, and it was time for us to decide whether to settle in Ottawa, or come home to run for the Liberal Leadership. Many issues weighed in our decision, some more memorable than others. As we get ready to send our children back to school this week, allow me to share my memory of one issue with you.


I remember sitting alone in a cafeteria on Elgin St. reading an article in The Globe and Mail reporting that the reading and math skills of Atlantic Canadian 15 year-olds lagged behind students in every other Canadian province. Back home the headlines read "N.S., all Atlantic area students trail other Canadians in tests" (The Chronicle-Herald), and "Nova Scotia Students Trail Most of Canada" (The Daily News). Click here for more


HARBOUR CLEAN-UP NOT ON HAMM’S LIST

(Halifax, NS) Premier Hamm’s decision to not include the Halifax Harbour clean-up on his list of priorities for federal government funding, despite stating he had, is a clear betrayal to the residents of HRM, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.


“The premier stated that the Halifax Harbour clean-up was on his priority list,” said Graham. “However it is obvious today that the premier betrayed and misled the people of HRM. What we are seeing is the worst of old-style politics.” Click here for more

Click here for an earlier releases on Hamm's priority list

Hamm's Letter Page 1
Hamm's Letter Page 2

GRAHAM CALLS FOR EDUCATION SUMMIT

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham is calling on the minister of education to begin a province- wide process to develop a strategy to address the consistent low test scores in Nova Scotia’s education system and is recommending an education summit as one piece of that process.


Graham is recommending that the Department of Education establish an education summit. “I am asking the government to hold an education summit that brings together all partners involved with educating our children and youth,” said Graham. Click here for more

Click here for more releases on the Education Summit

Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader’s Column - August 12, 2002

On the Third Anniversary of the Conservative mandate, it is timely to review the Conservative Government's record on their highest priority - fiscal responsibility. In this article I wish to address the debt.


In the lead-up to the next election expect to hear the Conservatives crow about being the first government to bring in a balanced budget in 40 years.Click here for more

TOURISM MINISTER MISLEADING

(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham says the Tourism and Culture Minister is misleading Nova Scotians by not using accurate tourism statistics.


The tourism minister today refuted Graham's comments of last week stating that the department is planning to spend close to $1.5 million less on tourism marketing than it did last year.Click here for more

Click here for the Department of Tourism's own budget figures

Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader’s Column - July 22, 2002

In his column in this paper on July 8, Premier Hamm welcomed my commitment to a Healthy Starts Program, but went on to say that the current government has already started such a program. I have followed with special interest the government’s comments and actions on their program called Healthy Beginnings and, for that reason, I’d like to respond to some of the specific issues raised by the Premier.


If your concern is schoolyard bullying, low standards of health, poor performances in school, youth crime, or a declining entrepreneurial spirit in our population, you will be interested in Healthy Starts. Click here for more

WHERE’S THE POLITICAL STRATEGY ON NEB HEARING?

(Halifax, NS) While New Brunswick’s premier has been building political allies with other provinces and preparing a strategy on oil and gas in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia’s premier and government have been outmaneuvered again, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.


“The premier and his government have allowed New Brunswick to politically outmaneuver Nova Scotia on this important issue,” says Graham. “While the New Brunswick government, under the leadership of Premier Lord, has been proactively gathering political allies and preparing a strategy around its proposal, Nova Scotia has been reactive at best.” Click here for more

Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader’s Column - July 1, 2002

I believe that the success of any government should be measured by the gifts it leaves its children. When one considers the state of our health, education and provincial finances in Nova Scotia, it would be easy to conclude that our governments have had mixed success.

This is going to change.

There is an aboriginal expression that captures the notion that the earth is not given to us, but is instead on loan from our grandchildren. Whether expressed exactly in this manner or not, this is a philosophy or mindset that has guided many different successful cultures for thousands of years, and should guide Nova Scotia.Click here for more

Chronicle-Herald Article - Leader’s Column - June 10, 2002

Since becoming Leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and traveling around the province listening to Nova Scotians, I have realized more than ever what a wonderful province we live in. I have listened to people talk about the resources and opportunities we have as Nova Scotians. Nova Scotia has many talented individuals eager to build a better future. However I also heard from people who don’t believe the current government has confidence in their ability to shape a better future, and compete on a larger scale.

As I look back at the recent session of the legislature, I am struck by how the government has failed to recognize important issues and make modern choices. As a result opportunities have passed us by. When governments are rooted in the past and not focused on the future, opportunities for growth and prosperity will be missed. Nova Scotians deserve nothing less than visionary, creative and innovative leadership. Click here for more

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, 2002

Click 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 Scotia’s 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 isn’t the future of the oil and gas industry at the top of the priority list for the Premier of Nova Scotia?” -more-


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
-more

Russell MacKinnon - Liberal Environment Critic
-more-

Jim Smith - Liberal Health Critic-more-

Don Downe - Liberal Agriculture Critic-more-


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."


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