Month: December 2011

NDP kills minority seats under cover of holida

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“despicable deed” shows NDP don’t respect minorities

Under cover of the looming New Year holiday, an NDP majority voted Friday afternoon to seffectively eliminate the protected seats which have traditionally allowed Acadians and African Nova Scotians a realistic chance to elect representation from their own communities.

“We’ve already demanded that the NDP undo their unacceptable slashing of minority representation,” said Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie. “What they did, and the sneaky way they did it, was utterly disrespectful to Acadians and African Nova Scotians.”

A committee of MLAs was tasked with defining the rules for an Electoral Boundaries Commission to redraw constituencies in Nova Scotia, but the NDP used their majority to pass a report that eliminates the ability of the Commission to safeguard four previously-protected seats (three in Acadian areas, plus Preston which includes African Nova Scotian communities). The NDP hold none of these seats and stand to benefit from their elimination.

“The protection of minority rights is above politics. This kind of crass manouevre by the NDP is a despicable deed,” said PC House Leader and Argyle MLA Chris d’Entremont. “In hearings all over Nova Scotia, nobody asked for this. The only explanation is partisan NDP politics. The re-election campaign of Darrell Dexter has started with him stabbing minorities – both Acadian and African Nova Scotian – right in the back,” said d’Entremont.

Without protection, the four seats would not exist because they are smaller in population than others. The four are Argyle, Clare, Preston and Richmond. Progressive Conservative and Liberal MLAs voted against the NDP move and have submitted a minority report.

In November, the PC’s opposed the way the NDP gave the relatively unscrutinized committee, which often met in-camera, the power to write the terms of reference for something so important while at the same time being dominated by one political party.

“This is exactly the sort of abuse we predicted. The NDP could get away with making changes that favoured them at the expense of particular Nova Scotians by doing it in committee without much scrutiny,” said Baillie. “But even that wasn’t a sneaky enough trick for the NDP so they did it at the start of a holiday weekend.”

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End of Fall Legislative Session

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PC leader Jamie Baillie says the 2011 fall session of the Legislature is most notable as the session where the NDP showed their true colours.

“Instead of working on new jobs, the economy and more affordable electricity pricing, they used their majority to force through a labour law which only serves the interests of their backroom friends,” said Baillie.

Baillie said his PC Party presented a competing vision to the NDP, taking a strong stand against the controversial First Contract labour law and the NDP’s expensive electricity plan.

“We intervened at the NS Power hearing and fought to have executive bonuses removed from power rates. We achieved a victory for ratepayers on that,” added Baillie. “Unfortunately the NDP are continuing to stick to their electricity plan that drives up power rates and asks Nova Scotians to ‘bite the bullet’ and pay more.”

Baillie was also the only leader to say that the MLA pension review didn’t go far enough, and that MLA-taxpayer contributions should be one for one, not six to one.

“In this session we continued to prove that we are the alternative to the NDP with the right ideas, both for the economy of our province and the family budget,” said Baillie.

“It’s frustrating to watch a government do so many things that make life harder for Nova Scotians,” he added. “It is important that people see there are two competing visions for the province.”

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Lyme Disease

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HEALTH/WELLNESS–Ticks Established in Gavelton, Yarmouth County
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Field work has confirmed that ticks collected from in and around Gavelton, Yarmouth Co., carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

The field work is part of an ongoing surveillance program by the departments of Natural Resources and Health and Wellness, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory.

Residents, health care providers and municipal leaders in Gavelton and the surrounding areas were informed by letters sent from Dr. Lynda Earle, medical officer of health for South West Health.

“Although this is not the time of year when ticks are typically most active, it’s important for people to be mindful that when working or playing in grassy, shrubby and wooded areas that they prevent tick exposure, even though risk of contracting Lyme disease remains low,” said Ms. Earle.

“It’s important to keep protection in mind as the weather continues to be unseasonably mild, as ticks remain active until the first permanent snowfall or when air temperatures are consistently below 4 degrees.”

There are several easy ways to prevent or reduce contact with ticks:

— wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants and socks so ticks are more visible, and enclosed shoes while working or playing outside or hiking in the woods
— pull socks up over pant legs and tuck in shirts
— spray clothing and exposed skin with an insect repellant containing DEET
— check clothing and exposed skin for ticks after working or playing outside in the bushes or tall grass and remove any ticks attached to the skin
— keep grass well cut to minimize suitable habitat for ticks on your property

Other areas where the Lyme disease bacteria is present in ticks include:

— Lunenburg County: Blue Rocks, Garden Lots, Heckmans Island and First Peninsula and areas immediately surrounding them
— Halifax Regional Municipality: Admirals Cove in Bedford
— Pictou County: areas around Melmerby Beach, Egerton, Kings Head, and Pine Tree
— Shelburne County: Gunning Cove

Although there are established areas of increased risk within Nova Scotia, ticks have been found throughout the province. Nova Scotians are reminded to enjoy the outdoors safely, regardless of where they live.

Images of the blacklegged tick, tick removal instructions and general information on Lyme disease are available online at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdpc/lyme.asp .

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First Contract Arbitration

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Birdsall and Ramey: Put jobs in your constituency ahead of the NDP
‘Do the right thing’ and oppose the NDP’s harmful labour law

December 5, 2011
For immediate release

HALIFAX, NS – Lunenburg County NDP Members of the Legislature, like Pam Birdsall and Gary Ramey, are putting the NDP ahead of jobs by supporting a harmful new labour law in the face of widespread opposition from small business owners, major employers like Michelin and Clearwater and organizations representing tens of thousands of job creators in Nova Scotia.

“Elected NDP members of the legislature have a choice this week,” said Argyle MLA Chris d’Entremont. “Pam Birdsall and Gary Ramey can stand on the side of jobs and investment in Lunenburg County or they can stand alongside the special interests that have convinced the Premier to pursue this bad idea.”

“Pam Birdsall and Gary Ramey will be casting votes for legislation that threatens the ability of Michelin to win further investment dollars for their Lunenburg County operations,” said d’Entremont. “If the Premier won’t show leadership and withdraw the legislation, then perhaps the Lunenburg County MLAs will.”

d’Entremont notes that areas outside of Halifax have shed 6,500 jobs in the past year. The South Shore accounts for 1,700 of those, a sign the area needs more job-creating investments, not less.

The NDP has a majority in the house with 31 of 52 MLAs. d’Entremont says that even five members choosing to “do the right thing” could make the difference. d’Entremont and the Progressive Conservative MLAs will continue to fight against the controversial bill this week in order to pressure NDP MLAs to reject it.

The bill would allow a third party arbitrator to impose labour terms and conditions on a newly unionized workplace regardless of the employer’s ability to afford them.