Author: Richard Starr

Oil price drop should lower the heat in fracking debate

Stephen Harper is not the only Conservative politician whose best laid plans have been knocked about by the Saudi-inspired plunge in oil prices. Nova Scotia Tory leader Jamie Baillie has recently put much of  his political energy into attacking the Liberal government’s “job killing” ban on fracking. Baillie made the issue a question period staple during the Fall session of the legislature. He implied that by saying no to fracking (which he euphemized into “new ways to create jobs”) the Liberals were perpetuating policies that led to the loss of 9,000 jobs in 2014. The argument was far-fetched then...

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Cognitive Dissonance and the Clash of the Acronyms

Can EGSPA and LNG co-exist and find happiness together in Nova Scotia? That’s a question that has been on my mind for a few years now. EGSPA stands for the  Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act passed unanimously by the Nova Scotia legislature in 2007 and recently hailed in the Ivany report as the kind of co-operation around shared values that should inform our whole approach to politics. The EGSPA legislation, since amended, sets out 25 different environmental goals, including reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. LNG, of course, stands for Liquefied Natural Gas, the production of which will increase GHG emissions....

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Harper delivers another lump of coal to the have-nots

It has become a fixture on the Canadian political calendar. Each year in mid-December Canada’s finance ministers meet behind closed doors to discuss public business and find out the details of federal transfer payments for the year ahead. Those transfer payments are a pretty big deal. This year, Ottawa is transferring over $65 billion to provincial governments for health, social programs and equalization. That’s a significant chunk (about 30%) of  the federal government’s total spending. For some provinces, the transfers represent about the same percentage of their total revenues. The Harper government prides itself on steadily increasing transfers. In...

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The Usual Suspects attack Nova Scotia’s fracking ban – with the usual distortions

December 10, 2014 The Liberal government’s pre-emptive decision to ban high volume fracking in the wake of an independent commission’s report that simply recommended going slow has attracted a lot of flak, in both Nova Scotia and across the country. At home, it has become a cause celebre for the Chronicle-Herald and the provincial Conservatives. Further afield, media commentators and some politicians, including Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, have criticized both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which is also moving towards a ban. The gist of their argument is that equalization-receiving Maritime provinces have no business banning fracking for oil and...

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Among provinces, wealth equals health

  Below is the first entry in my blog, the Nova Scotia Observer. It is adapted from a briefing note prepared for decision makers and others who may be concerned about the fairness of federal health transfers to the Provinces in the wake of the Harper government’s decision to give Alberta a 37.75% increase in the current fiscal year and pay for it with money skimmed from the other provinces. The Official Opposition has promised that if it forms the next government it will continue to increase overall health transfers by 6% a year. However, as this piece argues,...

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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.

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