Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Chairman Tim Houston says his party has a plan to improve health care in the province, but it comes at a high price.
Houston on Thursday released its party’s calculated election manifesto, a document primarily focused on health care, the economy, the environment and education.
Although the plan is to balance the books in six years, there will be plenty of new editions before that happens. The Tories would spend $ 553 million in the first year to meet their commitments, a grand total that would bring the provincial deficit to over $ 1 billion if they formed a government on Aug. 17.
“After years of neglect, health care repair becomes expensive,” Houston told reporters in Halifax.
Healthcare spending makes up the lion’s share of that $ 553 million – about $ 430 million. It includes previously discussed plans to begin building 2,500 new single beds for long-term care, provide improved access to universal mental health services, and attract more doctors.
Part of this plan will include the creation of a retirement plan for doctors. The province’s contributions would depend on how many years a doctor worked in Nova Scotia, but the Tories estimate the plan’s annual cost to the government at around $ 6 million.
The party also promises a tax credit of up to $ 8,000 per year, capped at a total of $ 20,000, for people seeking fertility treatment. And for those on the waiting list to get a family doctor, Houston said a Tory government would cover the cost of access to a doctor through telemedicine.
Paying for these services requires new sources of income.
The Tories would introduce a new property tax for people who own property here but pay no income tax in Nova Scotia.
The levy would be $ 2 per $ 100 of valuation. There will also be a new land transfer tax premium of an additional five percent on such property sales. The measures are expected to bring in around $ 150 million annually.
In an effort to increase housing supply, Houston said his party would be tendering available real estate in Nova Scotia Lands for affordable housing and housing development. The provincial authority oversees the renovation and redevelopment of real estate owned by the crown.
To create more jobs and retain and attract workers, the Tories are promising no personal income tax for those under 30 who work in the craft with their first $ 50,000 earned. The Tories would subsidize the establishment of satellite internet services for people who do not have access to coverage in their area.
In the environmental sector, the Tories are committed to achieving 80 percent of the use of renewable energies by 2030, increasing the protection of land and water masses to 20 percent by 2030, and introducing new laws to anchor environmental goals and targets for reducing climate change.
There are also plans to sell at least 30 percent of the cars sold emission-free by 2030 and fund half of the installation costs for electric vehicle chargers. All new provincial buildings should be net zero.
The Tories appeal to rural voters by promising to double the budget for rural road works and raise a fund to repair local ice rinks.
Federal child care contract should be adhered to
In education, the party would add a curriculum focusing on civics, financial literacy and healthy living, offer teachers more diversity training, and implement any outstanding recommendations from the 2018 inclusion report. More places would also be created in the vocational school programs.
While the party said it would modernize the school board model, officials stopped short of promising a return of the elected board members.
Though the platform doesn’t include essential childcare measures, Houston said that if a government were formed, it would build on the agreement recently signed between the federal and provincial governments that aims to achieve a $ 10 a day daycare facility.
“I’m not interested in moving this province back in any way,” he said. “We will not handle anything. We will try to improve everything that lies ahead of us.”
Houston also promises fixed election dates and the granting of authority for the data protection officer of the province. The latter is a promise made but never kept by previous political leaders, including former Prime Minister Stephen McNeil.
The NDP has already released a 10-year outlook for its vision for the province and plans to release a paid platform later in the campaign. The Liberals deploy their platform throughout the campaign. The liberal leader Iain Rankin has so far declined to elaborate on the five most important elements of this platform.