MAT WHYNOTT POLITICAL SPEAK
Whether we are ready to say so long to the summer or not, another school year is at our door step. It's time to start packing those lunches and prepping homework schedules for our children.
This year, the beginning of a new school year means that we will also have to continue paying close attention to our school zones and slowing down as we approach them. This past legislative session your government passed new legislation, the Safer School Zone Act, which comes into effect Sept. 1. It will mean drivers will have to reduce speed in school areas to 30 km/h, in a 50 km/h zone, when children are present. In school areas where the speed limit is higher, a 50 km/h reduced speed limit will continue to be in effect when children are present. If you have questions about the new laws pertaining to school zones, feel free to visit www.matwhynott.ca for a link to a special Q&A on the legislation.
Now, I'd like to address an issue that people have brought up with me while I've been canvassing door to door, and that is Stephen McNeil and the Nova Scotia Liberal's plans to deregulate our electricity. We know for sure that the Liberal rhetoric about "breaking the Nova Scotia Power monopoly" really means deregulating and leaving ratepayers at the mercy of the market. This course of action has been said to be ‘an abject failure,' a comment by McNeil's Liberal colleague, Ontario's Dalton McGuinty on his own province's deregulation. Following Ontario's deregulation, power rates rose 30 per cent in seven short months - in some cases up to 70 per cent. We simply cannot allow that to happen in Nova Scotia.
It's clear that McNeil doesn't understand energy issues; his actions would drive the cost of energy through the roof. He's naive to think that unregulated independent power producers would have Nova Scotian's long - or short - term interests at heart and be there to meet demand and help us move off coal. That the deregulation experiment would work in our small market where it failed in Ontario, Alberta, and California. Deregulation might be the only thing the Liberals could do that would top their biggest energy policy blunder ever - allowing the sell-off Nova Scotia Power to begin with. McNeil doesn't get it, the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia (like the Liberal Party of Canada) doesn't get it, they have no vision.
Our government has taken and will continue to take the necessary steps to put us on the right course when it comes to the cost of power. We are on course to producing 40 per cent of our electricity through renewable resources by 2020 and freeing ourselves from our dependency on the imported and unstable price of coal that we use in Nova Scotia. In 2009 we remove the HST of home heating which has saved on average 10 per cent on their monthly bills. We are creating jobs by moving towards local, renewable energy sources that will benefit generations to come. This is the right thing to do. The changes may not all be immediate; however they will be significant and stable in the long term.
As I close, I want to remind you that I am here to serve you as your provincial member of the legislature. I would like to know your opinions on what is going on in the province and continue to assist you with any issues you may have. Feel free to contact my office in regards to anything you read here or to find out more information about programs your government offers such as the Heating Assistance Rebate Program or the Property Tax Rebate Program for seniors. You can reach my office at 864-5310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.