THRONE SPEECH AT A GLANCENova Scotia’s speech from the throne highlights the five priorities for the government as it lays out its vision for the future. THE NEW NOVA SCOTIAGovernment will focus on educating to compete, protecting the environment, better roads and infrastructure, safer, healthier communities and shorter wait times. EDUCATING TO COMPETE There will be new provincial standards in the classroom under a plan called Learning for Life III: Learning to Excel. Special attention will be paid to mathematics and literacy programs. Post-secondary students will benefit from a continued freeze on university tuition. Further tuition reductions are planned, and a new program will significantly reduce the interest paid on student loans. Recognizing that education doesn’t end in Grade 12, or at a post-secondary institution, government will work to meet changing demands on our workers through improved access to training and skills development. A new Ministry of Labour and Workforce Development will focus on recruitment, retention, repatriation and retraining to ensure Nova Scotia is prepared to deal with a shortage of skilledworkers affecting all of Canada. PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENTSpecial attention will be paid to environmental issues with the creation of a new department focused solely on the environment. This will better enable the government to meet the standardsit has set for 2020. Efforts will continue to harness the wind and tides as Nova Scotia becomes a world leader in green and renewable energy. Government realizes there is great value to Nova Scotia’s rugged coastline and will ensure a coastal management framework is in place within two years. BETTER ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTUREThere will be dramatic improvements to the province’s roads and infrastructure. Roads from Yarmouth to Sydney will be twinned and modernized by 2020. Strategic partnerships with the private sector will allow the province to overcome an $8-billion infrastructure deficit without running up a budget deficit. This will lead to new roads, schools, recreation facilities and court houses. Government will deliver on its commitment to provide broadband Internet service to all of Nova Scotia by 2009. SAFER, HEALTHIER COMMUNITIESNova Scotia streets and communities will be safer and healthier. Planned legislation will deal with crosswalk safety, soliciting on public roadways and street racing. Government remains committed to having more police officers on the streets of our communities. All recommendations coming from the Nunn Commission have been accepted and are being implemented. These include developing a provincial youth strategy and creating a new youth attendance centre and bail supervision programs in Halifax. Nova Scotians will be the first in the Maritimes to have access to a family pharmacare program. This will be especially beneficial to the 180,000 residents who are not covered by a drug plan. SHORTER WAIT TIMESThe government will continue towards the goal of reducing wait times for medical services. There will be a wait-time guarantee for cancer radiation therapy. More long-term care beds are being made available. Nova Scotia has the highest number of doctors per capita in the country, and even more health-care professionals want to work in Nova Scotia. Recognizing that reducing wait times is both ashort- and long-term project, government has strategies in place that will make Nova Scotians healthier, thus reducing the demand on services. Young children are being taught about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Hundreds of kilometres of walking trails will allow them to maintain that lifestyle into adulthood. -30- NOTE: The speech from the throne is on the website at www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/house_business/thronehighlights.html .