January 11, 2003
Improved health needs political commitment
Either something is important and you are committed to it or you are not. What could be more important than improving the disgracefully poor health of our Nova Scotia population - surely not a 10% tax cut?
This year the Conservative government chose to put $49 million of $50 million from annual tobacco tax increases toward general revenue (to fund the coming 10% tax cut), instead of using it directly to save the lives of more Nova Scotians, and improve our approaching crisis in population health. This government has made a clear choice - tax cuts over your health.
January 6, 2003
Don Downe, MLA
HAMM ADMITS HE HAS NO DEBT MANAGEMENT PLAN
(Bridgewater, NS) Liberal Finance Critic Don Downe is surprised the premier has finally admitted his Conservative government has no plan to pay down the province’s rising debt and is deeply concerned about the effect that will have on the province’s finances.
Premier Hamm has said he won't begin thinking about a debt management plan to repay the province's debt until his government posts a substantial surplus around $15 million.
December 1, 2002
GRAHAM CALLS FOR REVIEW BY AUDITOR GENERAL OF STUDENT AID FUND
(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham will ask Auditor General Roy Salmon to investigate the issue of student aid in the wake of concerns about the Conservative Government’s compliance with terms of their agreement with the Millennium Scholarship Foundation.
"The federal government’s Millennium Scholarship was introduced to increase the aid to students, not to allow provincial governments to divert funds to other activities, as appears to be the case in Nova Scotia," he said. "This is an issue we raised several times in the recent Legislative Session, without getting any satisfactory explanation from the Minister. An investigation by the Auditor General would let us know if we -- and the students in this Province -- are receiving the benefits of the Millennium Scholarship, or if it is being used to move the Conservative Government closer to their tax cut."
October 21, 2002
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE ELITIST
(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham is not surprised by the Conservative Governments response to his comprehensive plan, announced last week, for Citizen Centred Democracy.
I spoke about opening the structures and processes of government to more participation by citizens, he said. Their response is exactly the kind of elitist, out of touch attitude that frustrates citizens, and leads to disillusionment and cynicism.
October 18, 2002
LIBERALS LAUNCH CITIZEN CENTRED DEMOCRACY PLAN
(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham today launched another component of his plan to revitalize and modernize the working of government in Nova Scotia. Citizen Centred Democracy, the Liberal plan for democratic reform, is one of Grahams central priorities and outlines the Liberal Partys commitment to political renewal in the province.
It is time to change the way government conducts business in this province. Indeed, it is time to realign the relationship between government and the citizens it serves, said Graham during the announcement. Its past time to begin responding to the cynicism and disillusionment that dogs politics and public institutions.
September 26, 2002
HERE'S YOUR DEPLOOMA
Many Canadians are scared of "two-tier" medicine. But what about two-tier public education? On Tuesday, Nova Scotia's governing Conservatives unveiled a plan under which high schools would issue two types of diplomas. Regular graduates would get a regular diploma. But "graduates" who fail their literacy tests would get an "adjusted diploma" that notes their deficiency.
Danny Graham, leader of Nova Scotia's Liberal Party, is correct when he says the plan, which he calls "Grade 12 lite," is "a step backwards." Teaching children to read is the most basic mission of our education system. When we fail in that mission, the correct response is to keep the child in school until he knows his letters -- not to paper over the failure with phony diplomas.
There is a lot of good in Nova Scotia's new educational plans. In particular, the emphasis on standardized literacy tests -- students will take them in Grades 6, 9 and 12 -- will help promote improved English skills. But the province cannot have it both ways. If the government implements tests, it must ensure that all students pass. Otherwise, the tests -- like the "adjusted diplomas" awarded to those who fail them -- will be meaningless.
September 21, 2002
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.
Sepember 20, 2002
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. Todays shuffle gives the caucus a chance to expand on the vast experience and knowledge they have gained over the last three years.
August 30, 2002
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.
August 01, 2002
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.
July 11, 2002
GRAHAM: CN COMMITTED TO PROVIDE RAIL SERVICE
(Sydney, NS) Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railways 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.
June 27, 2002
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. Peters Junction and Sydney, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.
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.
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.
Chronicle-Herald Article - Leaders Column - March 10, 2003Would your parents have been alarmed if you came home with a test score of 32 in math?
If your marks in reading, writing and arithmetic were getting gradually worse from one year to the next, would they be concerned?
If the gap between your test results and the class average was gradually getting bigger every year, would they take action?
Recent tests for our Nova Scotia students - our children - suggest that this is the scenario.
GOVERNMENT MUST SET, MEET EDUCATION TARGETS
(Halifax, NS) Liberal Leader Danny Graham is calling upon the government to answer questions about the ways in which Nova Scotia’s education system is failing students.
In a letter to the Minister of Education, Mr. Graham is requesting the background information that was used by the department to arrive at the figures in developing the Minister's Report to Parents: Student Assessment Results for Nova Scotia 2002.
SESSION SHOWS TORIES HAVE NO PLAN, LACK MANAGEMENT
(Halifax, NS) The fall session of the Legislature confirmed for Nova Scotians that the Conservative government has no plan for the future and has poorly managed the affairs of the province, saysLiberal Leader Danny Graham.
"The Legislature was ‘closed for lack of business’ for three days during this session because they have no ideas, no plan and no direction for the future of the province," said Graham. "In the meantime health care is suffering, post secondary students have the highest tuition and debt loads in the country and the province’s debt is rising at a rate of $100 million per year. Yet the government couldn’t find anything to bring forward for debate."
CONSERVATIVES WON’T SUPPORT MAKING REMEMBRANCE DAY A STATUTORY HOLIDAY
(Halifax, NS) The Conservative government failed to support a Liberal resolution today that called for the establishment of an all-party committee that would examine the possibility of making Remembrance Day a statutory holiday in Nova Scotia.
Last week in the legislature, Liberal MLA Don Downe moved the adoption of a resolution that called on the government to establish an all-party committee that would investigate and consult with Legions and Nova Scotians on whether Remembrance Day should be declared a statutory holiday.
TORY TIMES ARE TAXING TIMES
(Halifax, NS) The lack of a plan to manage Nova Scotia’s finances is jeopardizing our future economic health, and sending more young people down the road to jobs and lower taxes in Alberta, Ontario, and the US, says Liberal Leader Danny Graham.
“Over the past year alone, the Conservative mismanagement of the province’s finances has meant that:
Average families in Nova Scotia have seen higher tax increases than families in any other province in the country;
Nova Scotia has the highest per capita debt in Canada. This burden is getting higher day by day because the Conservative government continues to borrow on the future – $100 million per year with no end in sight – with no plan to repay the debt.
Under the previous accounting rules of the Government, the forecasted surplus in this year of $2.3 million would be a deficit of more than $80 million. Nova Scotia’s credit rating has not improved in the three years of Conservative Government, because the Bond Rating agencies understand that the financial situation is not being better managed.
LIBERAL LEADER SPEAKS OF MODERN NOVA SCOTIA
(Pictou Co.) Nova Scotia must become a modern Province – enriching our traditional values with innovative thinking, Liberal Leader Danny Graham told a nominating meeting of the Party in Pictou East. “I’m excited about the possibilities of the future in Nova Scotia if we can work in concert with communities, with our neighbouring provinces, and with the federal government to the common goal of a stronger, more confident Province – one where our children not only want to stay, but where they can find meaningful work,” he said.
The Liberal Leader criticized the Conservative Government for their confrontational approach to the federal government. “Instead of working with Ottawa on a consistent plan for highway funding, developed to recognize their strategic needs and make it easy for them to support our goals, the Government wrote a letter identifying projects, a critical one in this very area, with no economic or safety analysis to support the request,” he said.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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 the Department of Tourism's own budget figures
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.”
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
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?”
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."
Nova Scotia's ever-increasing debt.