McNeil making U-Turn on promise to not give money to private companies

March 20, 2014

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says Stephen McNeil has set the stage to break his election promise to not invest public money in big companies.

She made the remarks following the release of Dr. Tom Traves report on provincial economic development tools.

The report suggests the Liberal government needs to “pay to play” in economic development and recommends the province provide grants, loans and other incentives to companies. Today, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson said most if not all of Dr. Traves’ recommendations will be accepted by the Liberals.

“Today we witnessed the beginning of the biggest U-turn of Stephen McNeil’s political career,” said MacDonald. “After running ads for over a year saying he would not give money to big companies, today the Liberals were talking about how they could invest in big companies. In fact just this week the Liberals gave over $1.5 million in grants to two businesses.”

View clip of MacDonald talking to reporters following the release of the Traves report:


MacDonald added, “Stephen McNeil misled Nova Scotians when he said his Liberal government would be the lender of last resort to the private sector.”

MacDonald did thank Dr. Traves for his insightful and well written report which included many positive recommendations that will improve economic development, albeit not in the way promised by the Premier.

“It’s unfortunate the report will be used as a smokescreen so the Premier can break his key election promise,” said MacDonald. “Before the election the Premier called payroll rebates stop gaps that unfairly picked winners and losers. He said a private company should go to a bank first, not the government, if it needed a loan. He said if a major employer needed provincial support to avoid massive layoffs – he would say no. Today we find out he is considering doing the exact opposite on all counts.”