December 1st, 2020

Oversight on pandemic spending, economic recovery plan needed

HALIFAX -- The NDP Caucus is renewing its call for an Economic Recovery Task Force that would develop a plan for how Nova Scotia handles the economic recovery from COVID-19. Today’s Financial Report from the Auditor General includes a number of questions and concerns around how the Liberal government is managing COVID-19 stimulus funds.

“We have two major issues at the same time: the public health concerns from the virus, and the major economic disruption faced by so many people,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “The Liberal government isn’t doing enough to make sure people are able to make ends meet. Everything from child care, to sick days, to minimum wage needs to be considered when we think about the economic recovery that’s needed.”

The Auditor General suggested that Nova Scotians should be asking about oversight to ensure COVID-related funds achieve the intended outcomes. He also notes that Nova Scotia does not have a recovery plan similar to those in Alberta and British Columbia that looks at “strategies for creating jobs, increasing investment within the province, focusing attention on health care and introducing new initiatives to increase the resiliency of their provinces.”

“Millions of dollars of spending have been announced with no legislative oversight. What we see in the Auditor General’s report is a clear call for a plan that considers everyone that makes up our economy,” said NDP Finance spokesperson Claudia Chender. “We know women and precarious workers have been hit hardest by the shutdowns in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. An Economic Recovery Task Force with representatives from sectors and communities throughout the province would be able to come up with a plan that addresses these big issues.”

The NDP is calling for a task force made up of representatives from industry, labour, environmental organizations, non-profits, African Nova Scotian communities, Mi’kmaq communities, municipalities, and colleges and universities, as well as education and early childhood development experts, economic experts, and an MLA from each of the three parties.