Delorey Wants To Compete On His Experience

The Liberals held three remote events for the leadership candidates. Given the limitations of the technology, they could hardly be called debates.

The candidate websites reveal some of their ideas but nothing about their character. Looking at the event videos is the best chance that party members have to make well-informed choices.

The ballots ask party members to identify their first and second choices. Both are important. It is likely that none of the candidates will have more than half of the votes. If so, the third-place candidate drops out and the second choices of those votes will determine the winner.

The third and final article is about Randy Delorey. He was born in 1978 and grew up in Antigonish. After a brief stint in information technology, he earned an MBA and became a professor of business management at St. Francis Xavier University. His website puts a lot of emphasis on listening.

Like Rankin and Kousoulis, he was first elected in 2013. His cabinet experience is easily the most robust of the three.

He was Minister of Environment until July 2015. He then took over Finance from Diana Whalen and presented balanced budgets in 2016 and 2017. He failed to deal with the large deficit in the Teachers Pension Plan (a failure that continues today).

Like the other two candidates, his website says nothing about eventually returning to balanced budgets. It does have an extensive list of spending promises during the recovery phase.

They include tax deferrals and holidays for businesses, grants to tourism operators for remarketing and facility upgrades, technology training for small businesses, and short-term training for high-demand fields.

Attraction of remote workers would be promoted and participating employers subsidized. Rural internet improvements are to be accelerated. Employers of young professionals are to be subsidized and tuition support enhanced. Support of non-profits with energy efficiency refits and greater funding for dealing with social inequality.

Delorey’s third cabinet posting was Health and Welfare, which he took over in June 2017. He restructured the department and expanded primary care resources by attracting more doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, and expanding the number of funded placements at Dalhousie. He was slow to respond to the suffocating bureaucracy of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, a problem that is still not fully addressed.

The department has done well in addressing the Covid crisis under the leadership of Doctor Strang. Delorey has had minimal visibility at press conferences. He points out that other areas such as economic development and education are also impacted so it makes sense for the Premier to be the political voice.

That makes good sense. Nevertheless, listening to Delorey in the leadership forums, it is hard to imagine him providing compelling guidance to Nova Scotians, let alone telling us to “Stay the blazes home.”

Delorey proposes a broad program in support of women including subsidies for employers hiring women and for women entrepreneurs, ensuring pay equality, working closely with the federal government to create and pilot a National Childcare Strategy, expanding post-secondary support, and promoting flexible hours.

The final policy area addressed in the website is affordable housing. Here is most of the text:

“We need careful and considerate thought given to this issue because it is a very complex issue that requires more than a few bullet points.

It will require careful coordination with the federal and municipal governments, work across multiple provincial departments, collaboration with our partners in the sector, and, most importantly, listening to those who need better access to housing.

It will also require the investment of both public and private dollars. Any plan or strategy should have those numbers attached, or it lacks the detail to be trusted.”

Readers will notice that this is more of a restatement of the question than a response. Those who watch the January 6th candidates’ town hall will notice that some of Delorey’s replies were likewise devoid of substantial content.

For example, when asked about how to respond to systemic racism, his answer was that government should acknowledge the problem, engage with stakeholders, and act on what was learned. This could be the reply to almost any question.

It appears that Delorey does not want the race to be a contest of ideas. In his opening remarks, he argued that the three of them have no serious disagreement on policies so the choice that party members are faced with is who is the best leader. He then points to his experience in senior cabinet roles.

In the early going, Delorey was viewed by some as being in the lead position. He has avoided taking any novel policy positions. That strategy worked well for perceived front runner Tim Houston in the Progressive Conservative contest. On the other hand, it did not work for Peter MacKay.


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