On March 29th, a new session of the House of Assembly will begin. While the House is sitting, I will be busy representing Cole Harbour - Eastern Passage, as well as with my duties as deputy speaker. As usual, I expect this session to be filled with important debate and the introduction of legislation that will continue to create good jobs and grow the economy. This session will be a memorable one for several reasons.
As is the custom, the session will open with the Speech from the Throne delivered by the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Mayann Francis. This speech will set the course for the sitting and lay out some of the important legislation that will be introduced by government that will make life better for Nova Scotian families. This will be the last Speech from the Throne given by Francis.
Over the past five years, Her Honour has done a remarkable job as lieutenant governor. Francis was the first African Nova Scotian and only the second woman to be appointed as lieutenant governor. As a representative of the Queen in Nova Scotia, she attended many community events and worked to strengthen Canadian ideals and traditions. Every measure and bill passed in the Nova Scotia Legislature must be given royal assent by the lieutenant governor before it can become law. I would like to thank Her Honour for her dedication to Nova Scotia over the past few years. I look forward to working with the incoming lieutenant governor, General John James Grant of New Glasgow.
This session will also see a new provincial budget. When our government came into office in 2009, we inherited a mess that, if not immediately addressed, would have meant a $1.4 billion deficit within three years. We knew we had to get the books back to balance, but we also knew that there is more than one way to do that. That's why our government started the most extensive financial consultations in our province's history.
We believe that Nova Scotians deserve a say in how their tax dollars a spent. Finance Minister Graham Steele is currently touring the province and speaking to Nova Scotians about what they want to see in the budget. We've also created an online budget tool that will allow Nova Scotians of all ages to work with the provincial budget and tell our government about their choices to get us get back to balance. You can find this tool at www.backtobalance.ca.
I am proud to say that when the provincial budget for 2012-2013 is presented in April, it will reflect the opinions of thousands of Nova Scotians who made their voices heard.
I expect to see more important programs and legislation in the next few months that will make life a little better for Nova Scotia families. As always, if there is an issue of concern to you, please bring it to my attention by contacting me at 465-3180, or email@example.com.