For generations, Nova Scotians have been told that our fiscal situation is grim, and that we can’t afford much. We’ve been asked to settle for stagnant incomes as prices have risen, cuts to the services families rely on, and the sell-off of some of our most precious resources. We’ve been told that the only thing we should worry about is whether or not we’re in the black at the end of each year.
These messages tell us a lot about what past governments think Nova Scotians are capable of, and what they think we value. They’ve assumed that we don’t want to help each other out. They think that we don’t care about protecting the natural resources of our province for generations to come. They believe that if offered a race to the bottom, we’ll accept the challenge. They’re wrong.
Gary Burrill and the NDP believe in the people of Nova Scotia, and their ability to work together for a better future. It’s time for a new direction: one characterized by smart investment for the long term.
We have never been in a better position to make investments in our province. Interest rates are lower than ever, and our debt-to-GDP ratio (the measure of our ability to pay off accumulated debt without incurring more) is low compared to our neighbours (including New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Quebec), and we are on an overall downward trajectory.
Borrowing to make the investments our people need will have an impact on this ratio in the short term; we project to run a deficit for the next several years, starting with an estimated deficit in 2017- 18 of $256 million. The budget will not be balanced during a four-year mandate, but that’s because we are serious about
making meaningful investments, and meaningful investments require commitment. If throwing money around when it is politically advantageous to do so was the way to build a better province, we should have seen some real changes already.
According to this year’s provincial budget, GDP growth is expected to remain relatively steady at between 2% and 3% per annum over the next few years. On top of projected economic growth, our investments will stimulate the creation of jobs and boost consumer spending in Nova Scotia, driving GDP up even further. While GDP growth is not the only measure of our province’s well-being, our investments in health care and education will have a significant positive impact on economic activity. The NDP’s plan for Nova Scotia will see the budget balanced in 6-8 years.
At the end of our mandate, we’ll be well on our way to a new Nova Scotia. Together, we will create an economy
where everyone has a fighting chance to make ends meet. Our schools and communities will be stronger, and people will have access to the health care they deserve. Our young people will have the opportunity to train for good jobs without worrying about student debt. We will protect our air and water, and guarantee a sustainable environment now, and for generations to come.
Together, we can do this.