Category: Nova Scotia Politics

Democracy in Nova Scotia: Still Closed Until Further Notice

The theme of recent COVID-19 updates in Nova Scotia has been “opening up.” Opening up the economy and opening up society have been on the agenda. But opening up democracy – not so much. Indeed, the past week provided more evidence, if more is needed, of Premier McNeil’s disdain for the views of others. Sadly but not surprisingly, the Premier held firm in his opposition to a public inquiry into last month’s mass shooting, despite calls from both opposition parties in the legislature and a host of civil society groups. Ditto to a public inquiry into long-term care homes....

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McNeil moves to new crisis, taking attitude with him

There was an interesting piece in Saturday’s Globe and Mail dealing with autocrats and the pandemic. Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev, authors of The Light that Failed: A Reckoning found a correlation between populist autocrats and galloping rates of COVID-19. There is compelling circumstantial evidence citing Trump and Putin, as well as Bolsonaro of Brazil, Lukashenko of Belarus and Ortega of Nicaragua, members of what’s been called the Ostrich Alliance. They are all sticking heads in the sand, and like Trump, meeting the current pandemic with “magical thinking, cowardly blame shifting and a weirdly dazed immobility.” The authors contend...

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Revenue windfalls produce Nova Scotia budgetary crumbs

While their criticisms of the Nova Scotia  budget have had some things in common, the two opposition parties in the legislature have also stressed different, but equally important, shortcomings. The NDP has questioned the unfair distribution of the budget’s rewards, with leader Gary Burrill describing the $70 million tax cut for big business to “a banquet feast laid on the table of the corporate sector of the province compared to crumbs cast on the floor for everybody else.” Some of those crumbs – for affordable housing, income assistance, disability supports –  were discussed last week. For its part, the...

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On social policy promises Nova Scotia budget rings a familiar bell

Last week’s Nova Scotia budget, the eighth from the McNeil Liberals, was greeted by most as a pre-election offering. That may yet turn out to be the case, but to my eye, the 2020 budget more closely resembled the one brought in a year before the last provincial election. That 2016 offering, coming only a few months after Justin Trudeau and his sunny ways temporarily captured the hearts of Nova Scotians, tried to put a smiley face on a provincial Liberal government that had spent the previous two-plus years preaching austerity. Dubbed “Working Together for a Stronger Nova Scotia”...

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Provincial broadband cash lets feds and telecoms duck responsibility

A couple of years ago, when thanks to a year-end windfall the McNeil government stashed $120 million into a slush fund for high speed internet expansion, I questioned why a province – with social spending needs that ran the gamut – would make such a choice. It seems my qualms were very much in the minority. A few months later, when the books were closed on the 2017-18 fiscal year the windfall turned out to be even bigger than expected and the McNeil government added another $73 million to the pot – formally known as the Internet Funding Trust....

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Status quo Nova Scotia byelections shed no light on the political road ahead

Anyone expecting clear harbingers of things to come from this week’s three byelections in Nova Scotia will likely be disappointed. There were several possible omens to watch for, but none materialized as the status quo prevailed. Standing pat was most apparent in Argyle-Barrington, vacant because of the resignation of Tory MLA Chris d’Entremont, who like his colleagues in two Cape Breton districts is abandoning the Tim Houston-led provincial Progressive Conservative party and seeking greener pastures with the unprogressive Conservatives at the federal level. The byelection result in d’Entremont’s former riding was almost a carbon copy of the outcome in...

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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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