Heavy agenda expected as Nova Scotia legislature opens for spring session

Nova Scotia Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc delivers the speech from the throne at the legislature in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. The Nova Scotia legislature will reconvene today for its earliest spring session in decades.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Nova Scotia Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc delivers the speech from the throne at the legislature in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. The Nova Scotia legislature will reconvene today for its earliest spring session in decades.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia legislature will reconvene today for its earliest spring session in decades.

The Liberal government called the early session to deal with a heavy legislative agenda in addition to the provincial budget, which is typically subjected to a line-by-line examination that can take up to two weeks.

On the government's to-do list is legislation to enact major education reforms contained in a report by consultant Avis Glaze, including the dissolution of seven of eight elected school boards.

But Premier Stephen McNeil says an education bill that was expected immediately won't be tabled today, although the government intends to pass legislation this spring.

Laws governing the rules around recreational marijuana use will also be needed before July 1, and work is also expected on redefining the province's electoral boundaries.

All of the major items are expected to be contentious and could draw out house proceedings if the Opposition Progressive Conservatives and NDP put up significant objections.

The issues, especially around education reform, are also expected to draw protesters to Province House during the session.

A protest rally called Nova Scotians Rise Up is scheduled for today's opening.

Organizers say it will be an opportunity for people to speak out against a government that is ignoring them on issues affecting "their families, their livelihoods, their communities and the environment."

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved. 2018

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