Finance Minister Michael Baker received a standing ovation yesterday after the Conservative government’s seventh consecutive balanced budget passed at Province House just after noon.
The minister toiled through the preparation of the budget in the weeks leading up to the sitting of the legislature, while at the same time battling cancer. He said although he had received a standing ovation before, he’d never received one over a budget.
The 20 members of the New Democrat Party — as they said they would earlier in the week — voted against the budget but with the Liberal party on the side of the Tories, 31 were in favour and Premier Rodney MacDonald and his cabinet will remain at the helm.
Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said he was happy with a number of the budget details including an additional 10 medical student seats at Dalhousie University; the reincarnation of the Keep the Heat program for low-income Nova Scotians; funding for the colorectal cancer drug Avastin; and the healthy living and transit tax credits.
The premier had a smile on his face when responding to questions about the vote, saying it’s a budget that is balanced and fiscally responsible.
“I’m glad to see that the Liberals have seen fit to support that budget and put people ahead of politics,” he said.