Category: Nova Scotia Politics

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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Sackville-Cobequid by-election:not momentous,but interesting for sure

With the usual caveat against reading too much into a by-election, there is a lot to ponder in the wake of this week’s vote that saw Conservative Steve Craig win the Sackville-Cobequid seat by a narrow margin of less than 200 votes over the NDP’s Lara Fawthorpe. First off, despite the closeness of the final vote, it was a disheartening loss for the NDP, a “bitter pill to swallow”as Gary Burrill put it in his message to members. The party had held the seat for almost 35 years, its procurement a watershed in the NDP’s slow evolution from a...

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Budget Officer reports deserve more attention from provincial politicians

The Conservatives managed to squeeze in a small gotcha in the last question period of the fall session of the Nova Scotia legislature. The topic was something of a snoozer – the annual Fiscal Sustainability Report (FSR) from Ottawa’s Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO). In numerous QP exchanges over the past year the Premier and various ministers have extolled the government’s budgetary brilliance by citing the PBO’s 2017 conclusion that among all provinces and territories only Nova Scotia and Quebec could boast sustainable fiscal policies. The PBO’s 2018 report, released a few weeks ago, shows that Quebec is now the...

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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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