Nova Scotia MLAs may actually have time to wear a groove in their seats for a change this fall.
The provincial legislature sat only 39 days last year and just 40 in 2007. But new Premier Darrell Dexter said things would be different once the new sitting of the House of Assembly begins tomorrow.
“I don’t think we’ll have to worry much about that this time,” Dexter told Metro aboutt the prospect of another 17-day fall session like in 2008 under then-premier Rodney MacDonald.
“There will be both a budget package and a legislative package that will be able to maintain the attention of the House.”
This sitting of the legislature marks not only the first NDP government in the province’s history, but also the first majority government in six years.
Dexter said having a majority should make it easier for his party to move on its plans for the province.
“When you get into minority governments where the life of the government is at stake in every budget deliberation then, yeah, it becomes more difficult,” he said. “In some respects we have an advantage here that the MacDonald government didn’t have.”
The NDP is expected to make use of that advantage right off the bat, as they introduce a budget with a $590-million deficit. It’s essentially the same budget the Tories introduced in the spring.
The challenge for the NDP is to honour spending commitments by the Progressive Conservatives while working to balance the budget next year, as promised in the lelection campaign.
The Tories are in the awkward situation of trying to distance themselves from the deficit of a budget they basically wrote. The Liberals, meanwhile, should enjoy their new position as Official Opposition after being the third-place party the past couple sittings.