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From welfare to cabinet, Joanne Bernard's journey into politics took many turns

HALIFAX - Joanne Bernard says Nova Scotia's welfare system doesn't have to be a poverty trap. And she should know. In the late 1990s, Bernard was a single mother living on income assistance following a traumatic marriage breakup. Today, as the province's community services minister, she's in charge of the entire social assistance system. Bernard says her transformation from food bank client to minister of the Crown should serve as an example to those who think welfare is a dead end.

From welfare to cabinet, Joanne Bernard's journey into politics took many turns

HALIFAX - Joanne Bernard says Nova Scotia's welfare system doesn't have to be a poverty trap. And she should know. In the late 1990s, Bernard was a single mother living on income assistance following a traumatic marriage breakup. Today, as the province's community services minister, she's in charge of the entire social assistance system. Bernard says her transformation from food bank client to minister of the Crown should serve as an example to those who think welfare is a dead end.

Nova Scotia forecasting a $481.7 million deficit, wiping out previous surplus

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's finances have dramatically sunk into the red as the Liberal government announced Thursday that an $18.3 million surplus predicted by the former NDP government has turned into a $481.7 million deficit. The NDP forecast the slim surplus in the last fiscal update in August, shortly before former premier Darrell Dexter called October's provincial election.

Nova Scotia NDP appoints caucus veteran MacDonald as acting party leader

HALIFAX - The provincial council of Nova Scotia's NDP has appointed former cabinet minister Maureen MacDonald as acting party leader. MacDonald accepted the position today at a meeting held in Lower Sackville. She takes on the job after former premier Darrell Dexter stepped down as leader last week. MacDonald, who represents the riding of Halifax Needham, served as health minister and as the province's first female finance minister as part of Dexter's cabinet. She leads a party that was reduced to seven seats in the Oct. 8 provincial election.

Nova Scotia cabinet prepared to defend loans, but jobs fund staying put: premier

HALIFAX - Premier Stephen McNeil shifted his stance Thursday on a controversial business loans program, saying cabinet will continue to control it despite criticism from Nova Scotia's auditor general that the fund suffers from a lack of management and accountability. McNeil said his government will ensure taxpayers know where their money is going and is prepared to explain any transactions, eliminating the need for an arms-length body to administer the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund — a change he argued for while in Opposition.

Nova Scotia loans to private sector went without assessment: auditor general

HALIFAX - More than $500 million in public money has been approved to go to some of Nova Scotia's major employers, such as Irving Shipbuilding and the Pacific West Commercial paper mill, through a cabinet-controlled business loans program that is poorly managed and lacks monitoring and accountability, the province's auditor general said Wednesday. In a scathing fall report, Jacques Lapointe said he found examples within the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund of unsecured loans and loans that were approved but did not always include the required financial and economic analysis.

Darrell Dexter resigns as leader of Nova Scotia NDP

HALIFAX - Former Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter said Saturday that his government will be remembered for leading the province through a tough recession as he announced he was stepping down as leader of the province's New Democratic Party. Dexter's resignation, which was submitted at the party's provincial executive meeting in Halifax, came a month after the NDP was knocked from power to third-party status in the last month's provincial election. "It has been a privilege to serve New Democrats across Nova Scotia over the past 12 years," Dexter said in a statement.

Nova Scotia NDP Leader Darrell Dexter to make announcement Saturday

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia NDP Leader Darrell Dexter will make an announcement Saturday in Halifax at the party's provincial executive meeting. There has been much speculation about Dexter's future after the NDP were knocked from power to third-party status in last month's election, winning seven of the legislature's 51 seats. Dexter also lost his own Halifax-area seat of Cole Harbour-Portland Valley. His announcement will be made at NDP politician Maureen MacDonald's constituency office, who has taken on the role of leader in the house.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter meets with cabinet, caucus one last time

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter is holding his last formal cabinet and caucus meeting today following the NDP's defeat in the provincial election. Dexter says while it's time for him to move on from politics, he does not plan to resign as party leader today. He lost his own Halifax-area seat of Cole Harbour-Portland Valley as the NDP were relegated to third-party status with seven elected members. The Liberals took 33 of the legislature's 51 seats in last Tuesday's vote, while the Progressive Conservatives won 11 ridings to form the official Opposition.

NDP premier won't seek recount after losing long-held seat by 21 votes

HALIFAX - A spokeswoman for NDP Premier Darrell Dexter says the party will not seek a recount after a tight race for his Halifax-area seat in the Nova Scotia election. Jennifer Stewart says Dexter will not pursue a judicial recount after he lost his seat in Cole Harbour-Portland Valley to little-known Liberal Tony Ince by 21 votes on Tuesday. Elections Nova Scotia had originally reported on election night that he lost by 31 votes, but the agency updated the numbers following an official recount Thursday in all returning offices.
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