Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Holiday, Fracking Wastewater Ban among Promises in Nova Scotia Throne Speech

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Holiday, Fracking Wastewater Ban among Promises in Nova Scotia Throne Speech

Article excerpt

Nova Scotia Liberals unveil throne speech

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HALIFAX - A new winter holiday and a ban on the importation of hydraulic fracturing wastewater are among the initiatives Nova Scotia's new Liberal government is promising to introduce in the fall legislative session, its first since winning power.

Premier Stephen McNeil laid the ground for his government's agenda with a throne speech Thursday promising to bring in 10 pieces of legislation.

"Nova Scotians voted for change and that change is underway," Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant read from the speech.

"This begins with open and accountable government. This begins by respecting Nova Scotians' tax dollars."

McNeil is also promising to amend a contentious labour law brought in by the former NDP government that imposes arbitrated settlements on first contracts for newly unionized workplaces within one year.

He said he would remove that time limit in order to encourage negotiated settlements.

"There still will be the provision there ... that would allow you to go to the labour board if it's deemed someone is bargaining in bad faith or if someone isn't bargaining at all," McNeil said before the speech.

He said the government's first bill would be aimed at breaking the monopoly of Nova Scotia Power on the province's electricity grid, a promise that was central in the Liberal's campaign platform. He said there would also be measures to tighten the rules and increase transparency on government loan programs to businesses.

Legislation to amend the act covering the government's information arm, Communications Nova Scotia, is also planned along with an immediate and independent review of politicians' salaries and benefits, pensions, living allowances and other expenses, the speech said.

McNeil said the salary review would broaden a process that is already mandated.

He said a ban on the importation of hydraulic fracturing wastewater is needed because it doesn't make sense to take in that waste when there is a moratorium on fracking in the province while an independent review of fracking is underway. …

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