Jamie Baillie breaks with coalition on Ivany recommendations
Baillie issues his own report Tuesday describing how province can implement Ivany Commission recommendations
The leader of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Party has broken ranks with the One Nova Scotia Coalition he co-chaired and is calling out the province for not doing enough to achieve the goals from the Ivany report.
Jamie Baillie, alongside Premier Stephen McNeil and interim NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald, co-chaired the coalition, which was tasked with implementing recommendations set out in the Ivany report.
Baillie said the coalition's final report doesn't go far enough to ensure the lofty goals set by the Ivany commission almost two years ago would be met.
Instead, the Progressive Conservative leader has issued his own personal report. In it, he calls for:
- The creation of an all-party committee of the legislature to oversee meeting Ivany report goals.
- Enshrining the Ivany goals into law.
- The creation of a "Chief Ivany Officer" to report to the house on government progress or delays meeting Ivany targets.
- Assigning cabinet ministers specific actions to meet goals.
Baillie says the lack of accountability in the One Nova Scotia Coalition's report is a major weakness.
"That's why we need an independent officer of the house, like an auditor general, with even more responsibility that can tell all Nova Scotians independent of government, 'Are we achieving these goals or are we not achieving these goals,?'" he said.
"If we want to try something different this time, this is something different."
In his initial report, Ivany warned politicians not to use his report for partisan purposes.
"It is difficult to imagine how these long-term initiatives can be successfully implemented across two or more elections and possible changes in government and party leaders if we maintain politics as usual," he said at the time.
Baillie denied he was playing politics with the coalition's work by issuing his own report, but in the same breath defended his right to make a political issue of it.
"If I have to use the tools of politics to move this province forward, to stand up when everyone else wants to just go along and say we just can't do things the same old way, then I'm going to do that and people will call it what they will," he said.
One Nova Scotia Coalition member Jean-Paul Deveau doesn't criticize Baillie's decision to go it alone. In fact, he called it helpful.
"He's not saying that those major areas that we are suggesting are the wrong ones," he said. "Basically what he's saying is, 'Look, let's do even more.' And I think that's a very positive way of looking at the thing."