The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released an ‘alternative budget’ for Nova Scotia, a week before the province’s official fiscal budget is set to be announced.
“For too long, too many Nova Scotians have been struggling to make ends meet,” Nova Scotia CCPA Director Christine Saulnier said while announcing the report.
Funded in part by the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, advocates and experts from across the province have come together to provide input on what they think should be prioritized.
“This budget is not going to change the provincial budget that comes out next week, because it’s already done,” says Alexandra Rose of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition. “But I hope the alternative budget, especially the health-care section, is used to make people more aware.”
Read more: N.S. child poverty rates dropped sharply in 2020, ‘almost entirely’ due to pandemic relief
Saulnier says the CCPA is asking for fundamental system and structure changes that would improve life for everybody in the province.
“If we don’t move the needle on this, we will stay stuck where we are,” Saulnier said. “Which is continually in crisis and then we maybe solve that and then we’re into another crisis next time.”
Named ‘Leave No One Behind’ this year, the alternative report has been produced for the past 15 years and aims to hold governments accountable for the choices it makes.
“It’s government that works for the interest of the people,” Alec Stratford with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers said. “We are the people that are demanding a real reform and change to how our core services, systems and structures are resonating and are formed.”
According to Saulnier, the alternative budget shows that Nova Scotia is in a strong economic and fiscal position, meaning it can address pressing problems while maintaining a fiscally responsible approach.
“The alternative budget invests an additional $1.5 billion in net operating expenditures,” she says. “While we project deficits for the next three years, the debt to GDP ratio remains sustainable, which means it’s manageable.”
The provincial government is set to announce its new budget for the upcoming fiscal year on March 23.