Category: Nova Scotia Politics

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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Nova Scotia democracy was in retreat even before McNeil

Cancelling the fall session of the Nova Scotia legislature put an exclamation point on Stephen McNeil’s disregard for democracy. The act was far from a one off, something that could be excused by the need to focus government on the pandemic. It was instead a continuation of an autocratic approach that has marked McNeil’s seven years as Premier. The government he led ran roughshod over public sector workers, steamrolled over district health authorities, wiped out elected school boards and gave the back of the hand to opposition politicians and the media before the grand finale, practically locking-down settler British...

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Calling out errant federal Conservatives could keep Houston busy

Tim Houston, leader of a team that looks like what used to be called Red Tories, has stepped up to take on a tough task – putting daylight between his Progressive Conservative (PC) gang and the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). Earlier this week, the CBC reported on some of the contents of Houston’s email newsletter reprimanding federal MP Derek Sloan for his sponsorship in the House of Commons of an anti-vaxxer petition. The petition questions the approval process for COVID-19, asserting that “bypassing proper safety protocols means COVID-19 vaccination is effectively human experimentation.” Houston warned Nova Scotia’s PCs...

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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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