Tag: Fiscal austerity

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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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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NS government has the capacity and the obligation to ‘Build Back Better’

This week, in the midst of responding to an upsurge in COVID-19 infections and a housing crisis, the Nova Scotia government announced the launch of public pre-budget consultations. Unlike the previous NDP government and the feds, the McNeil Liberals have approached these consultations in recent years as pro-forma, ass-covering exercises. The process inaugurated this week looks like more of the same. According to the news release from the Finance Minister, Nova Scotians are “encouraged to submit their budget priorities by mail, email, on Twitter or by speaking with their MLA.” Whether anyone in government will pay attention to the...

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Fiscal Update wins bank’s praise but Liberals aren’t bragging

Well after the federal government and most other provinces reported on the impact of the pandemic on public finances the McNeil government finally got around to releasing a fiscal update last week. As will be recalled, the 2020-21 provincial budget was passed in early March but outdated within days as COVID-19 trashed all assumptions about revenues and expenditures. But although it was a long time coming, the update did not tell us a lot that is new about the state of Nova Scotia’s finances. The marquee number, a deficit of $853 million, was close to, but slightly below, the...

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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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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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