Author: Richard Starr

Houston government sets sail without the fiscal albatross

It’s interesting to consider how abruptly political fashions can change – how it’s all about balanced budgets until it isn’t. Take for example the recent debut of Nova Scotia’s new Progressive Conservative government. For the first time in more than two decades the new government isn’t putting on a show of recoiling in horror upon discovery of the true state of the province’s finances and issuing dire warnings of the need for urgent spending restraint. In that respect, the new PC government represents a sharp departure from the last Conservative administration that followed the shock and awe script when...

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2021 Election reflection#1:Atlantic Canada leads move to the right

Elections Canada was still busy counting mail-in ballots into the weekend, so analyzing the fine detail of the mostly status quo federal election is a work in progress. However, aside from the disappointment probably being felt by many partisans of the three major parties – it seems they all hoped to do better – the most ominous development was at the political margins. The Green vote collapsed and the anti-vax, anti-immigrant and pro-gun PPC saw its vote total triple. In 2019 the Greens attracted 1,189,607 votes, 6.5 percent of the total. The PPC, on the ballot for the first...

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Pandemic Election 3:Fourth wave fails to swamp Liberals

The Trudeau Liberals are a lucky bunch. Calling an unnecessary election during a pandemic that was gaining in intensity could have turned out very badly. Now that the numbers are in, the last five weeks may one day be described by chroniclers of this political moment as “disaster averted.” The Liberals came back with a minority government and the pandemic remained under control in most of the country. As reported here when the election was called on August 15, active cases totaled 17,025, up 65 percent from the previous week. Had cases continued to grow at that rate for...

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On health transfers, Houston needs to lead ‘Anybody but Conservative’ campaign

We’ve seen this play out in previous federal election campaigns. The provinces, constitutionally responsible for health services, unite to demand more federal help in this endeavour. The party in power at the federal level rejects the ask, while the opposition parties initially embrace it. But when the writ is dropped and one of the major opposition parties starts to waffle in its support the provinces fail to react. They put party loyalty ahead of the their populations’ need for adequate federal support for health care. When we observed this in the 2015 campaign and its aftermath it was mainly...

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Conservative platform’s a variation on the old bait-and-switch

Bait-and-switch is when a merchant advertises a product at a low-low price with the aim of tricking customers into buying something more expensive. The O’Toole Conservatives’ platform, revealed in its entirety this week, reverses the process. The big expensive promises they put in the window to lure voters turned out to be facade – Tiffany’s fronting a five-and-dime. After weeks of boasting about a platform implying they had plans for spending on health and day care to match the other parties, costing provided through the Parliamentary Budget Office revealed the moth-eaten tackiness of Conservative commitments. The ballyhooed $60 billion...

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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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