Category: Nova Scotia Politics

Chéticamp Act Two: The slippery slope of protected ridings

As discussed in part one, over the last ten years two boundaries commissions, one special commission and a Court of Appeal reference have wrestled with the question of how to improve the chances for Acadians and African Nova Scotians to be elected to the Nova Scotia legislature. It may have seemed that the matter was settled when the legislature responded positively to the finding of the court and the advice of the two most recent commissions. In late 2019, the legislature approved new electoral boundaries, including a handful of districts with populations falling 25 per cent or more below...

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Chéticamp Act One: the dilemma of “effective representation”

Chéticamp, the Acadian community on the western edge of the Cabot Trail, is a lovely place. The village’s website nails it in describing “a traditional Acadian fishing village situated along the picturesque Cabot Trail, nestled between the majestic highlands of Cape Breton Island and the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.” But picturesque and majestic natural beauty can only go so far, it seems. Chéticamp, with a population of about 5,000 in the village and its environs wants its own representative in the Nova Scotia legislature and is going to court in pursuit of that objective. Word last...

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Nova Scotia’s pre-election budget plan looks suspiciously like 2017 blueprint

Deliberation on what is likely to be Nova Scotia’s pre-election budget neared an end last week. The budget was filled with enough attractive promises to keep criticism at a low volume, but as Gary Burrill argued, what comes next is worrisome. In keeping with its pattern of departing as little as possible from the McNeil regime’s record, Ian Rankin’s government presented a budget predicting a return to operating balance in three years. But there’s a catch. It’s a plan predicated on reducing departmental expenses by over $200 million next year. And as the table shows, notional balancing of the...

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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...

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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...

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Labour bears brunt of McNeil’s eulogized tough decisions

There are lots of topics packed into the 15-minute eulogy for Stephen McNeil’s government featured in the virtual Liberal leadership convention package posted on You Tube last weekend. The video includes accolades to universal pre-primary, tax cuts, organ donation legislation as well as immigration and export growth. But relations with unionized public employees, the centrepiece of McNeil’s government, is the main theme of the propaganda piece. Ironically, the issue is never spelled out. Instead, viewers are asked to decipher – with help from a couple of still shots and superimposed text – the meaning behind a lot of talk...

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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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