In a surprise victory, the Progressive Conservatives won the Nova Scotia provincial election, defeating the incumbent Liberals and Premier Iain Rankin.
Five hours after the polls closed, the Progressive Conservatives were elected in 31 ridings, with 28 seats needed for a majority in the newly expanded 55-seat legislature.
Infrastructure was a key part of Premier-elect Tim Houston’s platform during the election campaign, as well as health care.
While the PCs plan to balance the books in six years, there is a lot of new spending before that happens. The Tories would spend $553 million in the first year to fulfil their commitments, a total that would push the provincial deficit over $1 billion if they were to form government on Aug. 17.
Spending on health care accounts for the lion’s share of that $553 million — about $430 million. It includes previously discussed plans to begin building 2,500 new single long-term care beds, offer improved access to universal mental health services and attract more doctors.
Roads, bridges, housing and high-speed Internet were also priorities laid out by the party, as “many areas of rural Nova Scotia are watching much of its critical infrastructure disappear or deteriorate,” read Tories’ platform document.
For a total cost of $64 million, Houston laid out the following key areas of infrastructure spending:
- Extend Internet to every household in Nova Scotia that does not have access by funding the installation costs of household and business satellite service where no high-speed service has been secured by Develop Nova Scotia.
- Double the budget for the Gravel Road Reconstruction Program and the Rural Impact Mitigation Fund. › Immediately remove tolls on the Cobequid Pass.
- Establish a new $1 million Rural Rink Sustainability Fund to support repairs to underfunded community rinks.
- Conduct an inventory of Nova Scotia Crown land and tender eligible properties for the development of affordable housing units.
Featured image: Premier-elect Tim Houston. (PCPartyNS.ca)