A Tale of Three Buildings

August 16, 2016


The constituency of Halifax Needham is defined by many things: vibrant neighbourhoods, progressive values, creative people, social and economic innovation, and a strong sense of community.

I want to speak about three institutions that are part of this community’s fabric, and why they matter to us as New Democrats.

The first is Northwood, a non-profit organization birthed out of a social movement to provide better long-term care for seniors. It offers a continuum of options–from retirement living to home care, residential care and nursing home care.

Surely a model like this should be celebrated and supported by our provincial government. Surely Northwood did not deserve the $235,000 cut it sustained this spring, along with other long-term care facilities–$3.1 million in total.

Next, there is the Bloomfield property, which in 2013 the Liberals committed to developing into affordable housing in the North End–a project which they spoke of as a housing “flagship.”

Two and a half years later, and with 1,500 people on housing waitlists in the HRM, this commitment evaporated and the government walked away from the project. At the same time, we learned this spring of considerable underspending on the province’s housing strategy, and on social housing subsidies.

The housing needs of citizens, it seems, are less important to the current administration than their need to produce a balanced budget—the holy grail of the austerity parties.

Finally, there is the Nova Scotia Community College – Institute of Technology campus. From the trades to information technology to medical administration, it provides education and professional training to 1,700 students per year.

Last month, when the Liberals announced changes to the Skills Development program, New Democrats were right to be skeptical. Small infusions of cash will help a handful of students, but it will take real investment to open the doors of opportunity to a generation who’ve had them shut.

This is why we have proposed to eliminate community college tuition. The Liberals, conversely, took the same amount of money that would be required to make NSCC tuition free–$28.5 million–and gave it to RBC and Lockheed Martin in the form of payroll rebates.

Education and skills. Care for seniors. Affordable housing. These are all important issues for residents of North End Halifax, and for our Party.

I hope you will join our wonderful candidate, Lisa Roberts, in our campaign to continue the NDP tradition in Halifax Needham.

In solidarity and hope,