Last week journalist Stephen Wentzell sat down with Gary Burrill, the leader of the provincial NDP, to have a wide-ranging conversation about issues dear to the Nova Scotia Advocate’s heart, things like the climate crisis and the threat to biodiversity, the sale of Owls Head Provincial Park, poverty and social assistance, housing and rent control, healthcare and many other issues

There is a substantial wage and benefits gap between Early Childhood Educators employed by child care centres and those who work at the provincial pre-primary program. At a press conference hosted by Nova Scotia NDP MLA Claudia Chender, early childhood educators explained why this is not only unfair, it’s also creating all kinds of problems for child care centres throughout the province.

Gary Burrill: “The cancellation of the fall session of the House means that a whole series of legislative proposals, including those we in the NDP have ready to bring forward — from paid sick leave, to permanent rent control, to the establishment of a cross-sector, multi-Party Economic Recovery Task Force in Nova Scotia — will not at this time see the legislative light of day.”

When journalists recently asked whether the Nova Scotia government is willing to institute paid sick days in Nova Scotia, premier Stephen McNeil flat out refused. There’s a federal program that takes care of it, he said. That’s not quite how it works, NDP labour critic Kendra Coombes tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

Lisa Roberts: There was rent control here in Nova Scotia until 1993, when the then Liberal cabinet eliminated it with no fanfare or debate. The current Liberal government could re-establish it through a similar cabinet decision or it could pass our bill. Either way, it would be an important first step towards stabilizing the rental market and protecting renters from massive increases.