On the brink of an election, Nova Scotia received a large bundle of infrastructure money Thursday from the federal government. But this time it might hurt the premier more than help him.
Federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay and Premier Rodney MacDonald co-announced a $136-million joint investment in various shovel-ready infrastructure projects. The province, and in some cases municipalities, must match national funds.
The premier has frequently tried to ward off an election by saying it would stop the province from leveraging federal money. But MacKay seemed to dispute that Thursday, saying the money was coming one way or another.
“The money is secure. Come what may, these projects are going to get underway in weeks, we hope, if not days,” MacKay said. “This is rock-solid money. This is money that is dedicated to the province of Nova Scotia.”
Until a provincial budget has been passed for this fiscal year, departments can only spend up to 50 per cent of the previous year’s budget.
MacDonald stood by his view that an election would hurt the province, saying there is a narrow window to kick-start the economy.
“You need all of the partners involved in order to make a project happen,” he said.“We have a $1.9-billion plan. Most of that is in the first two years. If we can’t start projects right away we’re going to miss the short construction season.”