POLITICS

Proposed redrawing of Nova Scotia's electoral boundaries has cost $396,000

11/27/2012 03:31 EST | Updated 01/27/2013 05:12 EST
HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says the government won't reveal its next move on changing the province's electoral boundaries until he has had a chance to consult with his party caucus.

Speaking from Ottawa Tuesday following a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Dexter said he would seek input from caucus members before the issue would be sent back to the legislature's law amendments committee.

Dexter said that would happen after his return on Thursday.

"I expect the bill will move forward," said Dexter.

The legislation which would merge four ridings intended to represent the province's black and Acadian populations with other ridings has passed second reading.

However, Dexter wouldn't say whether the government will pass it as is, or propose changes.

He also wouldn't speculate on whether NDP government members would be instructed on how to vote if a rollcall is taken in the legislature on third and final reading.

"We are discussing all of those things right now and to make pronouncements without having fully heard out all of caucus is just not the kind of inclusiveness that people expect," he said.

Both opposition parties have declined the government's call for further ideas and say they will vote against the proposed boundary changes in any event.

The changes have also sparked a significant public outcry, especially from the province's Acadian population.

Meanwhile, figures released by the government showed the attempt to redraw the province's boundaries has cost nearly $400,000 so far.

The government budgeted $450,000 for the work of the Electoral Boundaries Commission and said it had spent $396,342 to date.