Nova Scotia MLAs discussed everything from the Yarmouth ferry to the recent lockdowns at Halifax schools at cabinet on Thursday. Here are some highlights you should know about.
Premier Stephen McNeil doesn’t rule out 2016 election
The premier didn’t rule out the prospect of calling Nova Scotia voters back to the polling stations this year.
“I haven’t ruled one out or one in,” McNeil said.
“We’ll introduce our budget, continue to move forward, but I haven’t put my mind to when the election date will or won’t be.”
When asked if the government would balance the budget, he said he “certainly” hopes to see a balanced budget this year.
Recent school lockdowns concerning
After three schools in the province were placed in lockdown and one in hold and secure this week, the education minister reiterated that schools are handling the testy situations properly.
“Our department was in constant communication with the school board to make sure that first of all that children and staff were safe, that parents were informed, that the practices and the management programs for emergencies that schools have were followed, and that at the end of the day the resolution was safe,” said Education Minister Karen Casey.
The school boards and RCMP also reassured the public that they take each situation of a potential threat against a school very seriously, and that they’ve been implementing new measures to ensure safety of students and staff.
P3 model being pondered for Victoria General replacement
After months and months of delays in an update on the crumbling Victoria General Hospital, the government now says they’re looking at a P3 model as a way to replace the building.
McNeil said he doesn’t believe the federal government will provide money to help with the health institution.
A P3 partnership, or public-private partnership, sees money given from the government, as well as a private institution, to pay for new infrastructure.
The government has an August deadline to decide what to do with 39 P3 schools they’ve been leasing from the public sector.
No timeline for new cyberbullying legislation
Nova Scotia still has no timeline for when they’ll implement a new law to deal with cyberbullying cases.
The Anti-Cyberbullying Act was struck down in December, after it was determined it infringed on peoples’ charter rights.
Today, Justice Minister Diana Whalen said they still have no idea when a new alternative might be drafted, despite the fact that losing the original Act “certainly left a void.”
Yarmouth ferry management costs to be kept secret
Transport Minister Geoff MacLellan said the management fee for the Yarmouth-Portland ferry will continue to be kept under wraps, thanks to a request from Bay Ferries.
The government announced a 10-year deal with the company last month, and has received extensive criticism since, with many thinking the price tag is much too high.
Maintaining his confidence in the decision, however, he said tickets for the 2016 season could go on sale as early as Monday.