Tory IOU’s appear as good as gold to the NDP.

 

Yesterday, the NDP promised to follow through with two more plans hatched by the former Progressive Conservative government.

 

The most significant is a $2.8-million annual cash infusion to municipalities. The NDP announced they would give municipalities grants-in-lieu of tax payments on provincially-owned courthouses.

 

They will be phased in over three years. Once fully phased in, Halifax Regional Municipality alone will get a $935,000 break. The promise was initially made by the Tories months ago.

Premier Darrell Dexter has repeatedly said he will honour Conservative commitments, despite poor financial outlooks. So far they haven’t waivered from that plan.

Municipalities had been lobbying for the change for the last decade, when courthouse ownership was transferred from municipalities to the province. A grant was not added into the system at that point.

When the government looked across Canada, they found most provinces did offer a grant in lieu to municipalities for courthouses.

“This will put us in line with what they do across the country. This will benefit municipalities and all the families that live in those municipalities,” Municipal Relations Minister Ramona Jennex told reporters yesterday.

Another law change announced yesterday by the NDP was also in the pipes when they came into office. The government will change the Trade Union Act to bar mediators and mediator-arbitrators from being called to testify before a court or tribunal.

Another amendment would expand the scope of mediator-arbitrators in the hopes of shortening complaint processes and ultimately saving unions and employers money.