Nova Scotia·NOVA SCOTIA VOTES

The Tories say they'll recruit doctors differently. How different is their plan from the status quo?

In this installment of the Election Notebook: Tories talk doctor recruitment, Rankin maintains Ingraham quit, Burrill promises free child care.

Nova Scotia enters a second weekend of election campaigning

Welcome to CBC's Election Notebook, your source for regular updates and essential news from the campaign trail.


It's Day 8 of Nova Scotia's 31-day election.

The PCs have a plan to tackle the doctor shortage

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston says the Liberals are ill-equipped to find doctors for the tens of thousands of Nova Scotians who need one.

"To improve health care, to increase our recruitment and retention of doctors in Nova Scotia, we need to change the culture and that means changing the government," Houston said at a campaign event Friday.

Some of his plans are different from anything the Liberals have done, like creating a pension plan for doctors. The Tories are also promising additional support for foreign-trained doctors, in an effort to help them fully qualify to practise in the province and, ultimately, stay.

But his plan for locally driven doctor recruitment efforts is actually, despite his characterizations, in line with what a growing number of communities around the province have already started doing.

"Under a PC government, each region of this province would be empowered to create their own doctor recruitment strategy ... The community understands what it needs far better than someone sitting in an office tower far away in Halifax," he said.

Town and community leaders in Guysborough, Yarmouth, Antigonish and others have initiated their own recruitment efforts in the past few years. 

Houston said a PC government would not override existing local efforts.

"We'll support them, we'll work with them. They know what's best and we'll listen to them," he said.

In 2019, the Liberal government created a grant program worth $200,000 for communities to help recruit physicians. Doctors Nova Scotia created a similar program the same year.

Houston is heading to Cape Breton on Saturday.

Rankin maintains that Ingraham quit

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin was questioned again Friday about whether his party pushed Robyn Ingraham out, as the one-time Liberal candidate has alleged. He said his team did help Ingraham craft her initial statement about dropping out over mental health concerns, but he maintained she chose to quit.

He would not comment on Ingraham's allegation that party officials asked her whether she ever had sex for money.

"I'm not going to get into a 'he said, she said,' through the media," he said.

Ingraham told CBC News on Friday she had received calls from Rankin but she was not yet ready to speak with him.

"All I wanted was my truth to get out, and I don't want to be a spectacle anymore," Ingraham said. "I just wanted to bring attention to something bigger than I am."

Rankin pledged Friday that if he's re-elected he would continue a program to help tourism operators with digital technologies. He said he would earmark $5 million over two years.

Rankin will spend Saturday campaigning in the Halifax area.

Burrill family wedding bells

NDP Leader Gary Burrill will take a short break from campaigning on Saturday to officiate his youngest daughter's wedding and attend the reception.

He mentioned the nuptials at a Friday campaign event, where he promised to institute free before- and after-school child care if the New Democrats are elected.

A new affordable child-care agreement was signed between the provincial and federal Liberal governments just before the election call. It includes a promise for cheaper and more widely available before- and after-school programs over the next five years.

Burrill suggested the Liberals' child-care promise was hollow. He said he's been hearing election promises related to child care from Liberal governments since he was holding his youngest child, the 29-year-old bride-to-be, in his arms.

"We're not in that category. This is something that with an NDP government is actually going to happen," he said.

Burrill is scheduled to make a policy announcement in Preston on Saturday morning before heading to the wedding.

How to vote

Check whether you are registered to vote with Elections Nova Scotia.

Once registered, you can vote in advance of election day by requesting a mail-in ballot or by visiting a returning office or advance polling station.

On election day, polling stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. AT.

More information on voting is available from electionsnovascotia.ca.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taryn Grant

Reporter

Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter and web writer for CBC Nova Scotia. You can email her with tips and feedback at taryn.grant@cbc.ca

now