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Premier Houston gives positive outlook in State of the Province address

By Evan Taylor Mar 25, 2024 | 4:49 PM

Premier Tim Houston delivered his State of the Province address at the Best Western in Bridgewater on Monday. Photo: Evan Taylor

Premier Tim Houston delivered his State of the Province address to a packed conference room at the Best Western in Bridgewater on Monday afternoon, offering a positive outlook for Nova Scotia’s future.

The event was hosted by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce.

Despite an an ongoing housing and healthcare crisis Premier Houston indicated the investments his government is making on those fronts, are beginning to move the needle in the right direction.

“It might not make headlines, but we are seeing progress in health care with things like the creation of a new medical school at CBU that will train over 30 doctors every year, or the decreases we’ve seen in ambulance wait times down from 29 minutes, to 20.,” said Premier Houston. “These things may seem small but when you’re the one waiting to see a doctor or waiting on an ambulance those 9 minutes can make a world of difference,”.

The Premier also talked about his legacy and recognized that how his government navigates the healthcare crisis will ultimately be how he’s judged. “When campaigning one of my close friends said you’re going to be Premier, but who will care, and what he meant was what are you going to do to make things better,” Houston recalled.

Houston then went on to list the Patient Access to Care Act (which aims to reduce red-tape in the healthcare sector) as one of the policies he hopes he’s remembered for. “We have already helped cut down on 400,000 hours of paperwork doctors had been doing previously, that free’s up their time so they can do what they’re best at seeing Nova Scotians and treating them,”.










Green Hydrogen and Lithium important for Nova Scotia’s future

Recognizing many Nova Scotians are currently struggling with the cost of living, Houston suggested that Nova Scotians have lots to be hopeful for particularly if the province can utilize some of its more abundant natural resources.

Specifically, he feels the province can do more to bolster its green hydrogen industry and lithium mining.

“We can be a worldwide green hydrogen powerhouse, and just try to imagine what our economy would look like if we could capture that,” Houston said. “So many other jurisdictions would love to the resources we have, whether it’s our wind, or our tides or lithium.”

Houston says the lithium market is just beginning to be explored in Nova Scotia but that one project currently under development is estimated to be worth about $6 billion if fully actualized.

Opposition doesn’t share bright outlook

It was a full house at the Bridgewater Best Wester for the State of the Province address, with most of cabinet as well as opposition leaders in attendance. Photo: Evan Taylor

Official Opposition Leader Zach Churchill was also in attendance for the State of the Province address in Bridgewater, however, he didn’t share the Premier’s optimistic characterization of the present situation in Nova Scotia, nor his outlook for the future.

“The premier tries to paint a rosy picture of what’s happening with healthcare, the economy and with affordability and it’s not what I’m hearing,” said Churchill while speaking with reporters after Houstons’ speech. “People are really feeling the squeeze financially, people are having a hard time accessing emergency care… and we have a homelessness crisis that’s going to get worse,”.

Churchill also raised concerns about continued population growth without a lack of plans to accommodate the increased burden on healthcare and housing. “Without having a plan to accommodate it we are running out of housing and healthcare capacity, and here in Bridgewater for example they’re already at capacity for wastewater and sewage,”.

“I found the speech to be a bit meandering and unfocused, I don’t know what the major message was other than he thinks he’s doing more faster, which I think is indicative of a government that’s more concerned with slogans and headlines than actually doing what they need to,”.