Month: February 2016

Baillie stands up for seniors

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Latest pharmacare debacle again calls Liberals’ competence, integrity into question

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie is condemning the Liberal government for putting its sneaky 19 per cent pharmacare premium hike on the backs of seniors.

This morning, a day later than promised, the Liberal government finally released details of their plan to charge seniors more for the pharmacare program.

Under these new changes, seniors face a 19 per cent increase for the program starting April 1st.

“The Liberals shifted a $10 million cost directly onto the backs of seniors,” says Baillie. “When they rolled this out, they only gave seniors one side of the story. Now, after intense pressure, we are slowly finding out the truth.”

Under the new structure, seniors will contribute 37 per cent to the cost of the program. The former system was established under a 75:25 payment ratio between government and seniors. On January 15, when the announcement was made, the Liberals tried to blame the need for an increase on rising drug costs and the need for the program to be more sustainable. We learned today drug costs are only anticipated to go up 5.4 per cent and under some scenarios, this new model could be less sustainable than before.

Baillie says the latest debacle again calls into question the competence of the government.

“How can seniors trust the McNeil Liberals?” asks Baillie. “Many seniors feel threated by letters they received in the mail and it’s no wonder. The Liberals tried to cloud this as much as possible in order to hide their cash grab.”

Liberals still silent on boat for Yarmouth to Maine

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PCs concerned about status of tour bus bookings

Progressive Conservative Business critic, John Lohr wants to know the status of tour bus bookings and cancellations for the 2016 Yarmouth ferry season.

“We are concerned and hearing that some tour buses are cancelling their runs to Nova Scotia because there is still no boat,” says Lohr. “If these rumours are true and tours are being negatively impacted, the public has a right to know.”

The Liberal government changed ferry operators last fall and required Bay Ferries to secure a boat within 45 days. That deadline has long since come and gone with no boat or update.

“People are rightfully concerned,” says Lohr. “Taxpayers want to know that there is going to be a service and how much money the Liberal government is going to give them.”

Nova Star started late in the 2014 season and blew through $21 million in a few months. In just two years, the Liberals spent $41.5 million on Nova Star whose operators were not able to make the run even close to sustainable.

Lohr says it is irresponsible of the McNeil government to be so passive when so much is at stake.

“The Liberals keep saying ‘trust us.’ How can we?” John Lohr asks. “We’ve seen this all before from this Liberal government. It’s time for them to just tell us what’s going on.”

Lohr says the tourism industry is too important to keep dangling this way. This kind of Government waffling is short-sighted and could damage recent industry-driven progress.

“The lack of decision-making is hurting the local tourism industry,” says Lohr. “Tourism operators are resilient and self-reliant. They need a government that is honest with them about the likelihood of a ferry service from Yarmouth to Maine.”

The PC Caucus is committed to a ferry service in Yarmouth and wants to see a long-term plan for the future.