Author: Richard Starr

The old normal: Good news and bad on poverty and incomes

Economic fallout from the pandemic may change things, but the latest Statistics Canada data on income and poverty levels in Nova Scotia run according to form, with one major exception. The Canadian Income Survey (CIS) for 2019 shows a further drop in the province’s child poverty rate – a steep one. As described here, child poverty became a political embarrassment for the McNeil Liberals two years ago when the CIS revealed that while child poverty rates across the country were falling, they went up in Nova Scotia in 2017. The stigma eased a bit last year when the CIS...

Read More

Nova Scotia budget takes cautious approach to redressing social program shortcomings

Last November as Nova Scotia was embarking on pro-forma public consultations on the budget, I argued that the provincial government has both the fiscal capacity and the moral obligation to “build back better” by significantly increasing expenditures on programs and services Statistics Canada classifies under “Social Protection.” Social protection includes sickness and disability, help for families and children, housing support and measures to increase social inclusion. Nova Scotia’s expenditures on this basket of programs actually dropped between 2013 and 2019, leaving the province with the country’s second lowest per-capita expenditure. The budget tabled last week takes some baby steps...

Read More

Fixing Nova Scotia’s democratic ills requires surgery, not bandaids

For a while it looked like Nova Scotians were in for a rousing public debate on the endangered state of our democratic institutions. The lengthy sidelining of the legislature since the outbreak of the pandemic was bringing to a head years of consternation about the authoritarian tendencies of the Liberal government led by Stephen McNeil. But now McNeil is gone, and seems to have taken with him much of the angst about Nova Scotia’s fragile democracy. The media have picked up a different vibe coming from the new Premier, notwithstanding that his leadership campaign was free of any overt...

Read More

Starr’s Point Index #7

Tourism and food service businesses Percentage change in active tourism industry businesses in Canada between February and November 2020: – 8.75% Percentage change in active tourism businesses in Nova Scotia: – 4.01% Percentage change in active accommodation and food service businesses in Canada between February and November 2020: – 8.16% Percentage change in active accommodation and food service businesses in Nova Scotia: – 5.16%[1] Hotel and motel room nights sold in Nova Scotia August 2019: 397,000 Percentage of available room nights sold August 2019: 73% Hotel and motel room nights sold Nova Scotia August 2020: 166,000 Percentage of available...

Read More

Vaccine nationalism is driving federal politics

In a phenomenon normally limited to Olympic years, Canadians and their news media have lately been doing a lot of scoreboard watching. But they are not scanning for gold, silver and bronze medals, it’s vaccination rates they seek. As we have been hearing for many weeks, the rollout of the COVID-19 immunization campaign has been slow, the result mainly of interruptions in vaccine supply from European manufacturers. A bunch of other countries are vaccinating at a faster rate and, according to one media-financed poll, Canadians are at least somewhat angry about it – 71 per cent of them according...

Read More

Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, a former radio and TV producer and weekly newspaper editor, and the author of three non-fiction books. Starr has lived in Dartmouth for more than 30 years.

Subscribe to Starr’s Point

Support Provided by