An Interview with Claudia Chender leader of the NSNDP

If elected as Premier, what would your government prioritize? 

As Premier, I would prioritize Nova Scotians. I would make sure that people get the health care they need when they need it. I would focus on building housing, prioritizing truly affordable housing, and ensuring that people can afford a good life for themselves and their family. Nova Scotians are stronger when we work together and a New Democrat government would work with all Nova Scotians to build strong, affordable, communities across our province. 

The Houston government announced the streamlining of teaching by reducing necessary requirements for prospective teachers. What are your thoughts on this; would you handle things differently?

Our teachers and students need more support and ultimately we need more well trained teachers. I have heard from many educators and parents about this potential change already and they are concerned about what this means for students and staff in our schools. We need to work with teachers across Nova Scotia to build a system people want to work in. We have a teacher shortage, but graduating people faster into a system that doesn’t support them won’t lead to more retention. We need to keep the teachers we have and attract the new ones looking to do this important work. In the short terms we need to better compensate substitutes and create clear paths to permanent employment.

The homelessness crisis continues to worsen in Nova Scotia, what is your opinion on the recent removal of 5 major encampments in Halifax?

Those sleeping outside need permanent housing. The Houston government has refused to take meaningful action on creating truly affordable permanent housing. And so the housing crisis continues. Everyone needs a safe, affordable, permanent place to live. That is not the same as an emergency shelter. Without permanent options, we have serious concerns about where folks are supposed to go when temporary shelters close or spaces fill up again. 


If there’s no focus on transitional and affordable housing, people will remain stuck in a cycle of precarious housing and homelessness. 


The government must also help more people stay in their homes by closing loopholes that landlords are using to force renters to move. We need to ban winter evictions and create protections for low-income seniors from being evicted into homelessness. 

Climate Change continues to affect our province. What steps or policies would your government implement to preserve Nova Scotia’s environment and ensure an eco-sustainable economy?

This is a key question as we get closer and closer to 2030 and the IPCC’s deadline for limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. We need to work faster and more collaboratively to help people retrofit their homes, making them greener and more efficient. We need to be serious about  building a well-connected public transit network across the province to keep communities connected, and we need to enact the Coastal Protection Act to start getting serious about how we build and develop along Nova Scotia’s coastline.

There are also so many opportunities to support sustainable resource development from forestry to aquaculture to farming, and we’re excited to support them.

The Canadian government has reduced its quotas for international students, and anti-immigration rhetoric has become common. What is your message to international students and workers currently living in Nova Scotia?

International students and newcomers are vital to Nova Scotia’s culture and economy. We need people to move and stay here and build their lives. The international student cap is creating a lot of concern and confusion for people who are here now attending school and who are looking to come to Nova Scotia. I’ve heard from many students and organizations supporting newcomers and international students that people are struggling and they need to know what to expect when they move to our province. We need to do better for long-time residents and newcomers alike. 

Housing has become increasingly unaffordable to those in Nova Scotia. Most young people are facing a future where they will never be able to afford a house. Many working adults are also unable to keep up with the rising costs of rent. What is your thoughts on this issue, and what actions would your government take?

Nova Scotians are struggling with the increasing cost of housing. Everyone from students to families, to seniors is feeling the pinch. The Houston government is out of touch with the reality that so many Nova Scotians face and has failed to make serious investments in housing people can afford. 


Nova Scotia is facing a housing crisis and a shortage of tens of thousands of units in the next seven years. We need to build 70,000 more units to make up the shortfall by 2030, including tens of thousands of affordable units and we need stronger tenant protections to keep people housed. The NSNDP has an ambitious plan that will get us there. 


To build thousands of new affordable units of housing we would reinvest in non-market housing, including publicly owned, cooperative, and non-profit housing. We need to work with municipalities to update zoning and speed up permitting to support and expedite construction. And we should be redeveloping underused real estate and investing in prefabricated green buildings.


We also need to help people keep the affordable homes they have by ending unfair evictions and closing the fixed-term lease loophole, implementing a permanent rent control system and establishing a residential tenancies enforcement branch to ensure rules are being followed