Dexter - disappointment and expectations - part 2

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Unionist
Dexter - disappointment and expectations - part 2
Unionist

[url=http://thechronicleherald.ca/Columnists/1168491.html]NDP gets its bell rung[/url]

Quote:

Although things are still in flux, the Dexter government seems to have picked up many things where Rodney MacDonald left them. In that, the NDP is nearing a critical point where it risks damaging its own base, bogging down permanently into the same-old mould, and leaving Nova Scotians demoralized once again. [...]

For those following the NDP’s rise over time, the assumption was that after it nearly won in 1999, it was busily preparing to take power and would hit the ground running. Instead, it seems stiff, uncommunicative, and not up to speed.

Personally, for now I’m putting it down to rookie jitters. But I’ll be grumpy if it’s the same in six months.

What were they doing during the last 10 years? There was the period of constructive co-operation with John Hamm’s Tory government; then, as the election approached, the time of ducking Tory barbs (how silly Rodney MacDonald’s attempts to tar the NDP as dangerous socialists look now). In both cases, the project was to be as "conservative" as possible so as not to play into Tory propaganda and spook the public. They may have succeeded too well.

Fidel

Surette makes it sound like it was an NDPer who tried tagging Nova Scotians for an $8000 thousand dollar generator and several thousand dollar big-screen TV. And then the Conservative MPP lied about donating the generator to the senior citizens building. What a low life. I hope his constituents remember not to vote for the crooked Tories next time.

KenS

Surette's take is mostly one from the perspective of longer time strong NDP supporters, and focuses on the MLA spending scandal within that. I don't see all that much impact of the scandal there- including among my neighbours who I know while they have now long voted NDP would never describe themselves as some kind of Dipper.

And the previous thread was definitely about disapointment [or not] among NDP activists and strong supporters.

But I'm pretty sure the spending scandal has done some substantial damage to the governments mandate. It hasn't hit the NDP in particular- at least not yet. But it has really pissed people off and shortened their toleration and patience.

Just when the bad news budget was coming up. It already neutred the Finance Minister's tour around the province which everyone knew and expected was to prepare them for tax increases. Before this scandal blew up all indications were that people were in an accepting mood.

My guess is that the mood about tax increases will not instead turn ugly. But even if it does not get bad, at the very least some of the government's manouvering room has been torched.

KenS

Another way it it, taking off from the same bit of the column quoted by Unionist:

Quote:

Although things are still in flux, the Dexter government seems to have picked up many things where Rodney MacDonald left them. In that, the NDP is nearing a critical point where it risks damaging its own base, bogging down permanently into the same-old mould, and leaving Nova Scotians demoralized once again.

The part I highlighted is what Ralph Surrette has a good handle on- radar on where Nova Scotians are at and likely to be going. And thats what my comments addressed, but it isn't what Surrette devoted this column to.

When it comes to the people he is talking about in the column- those who have supported the NDP the longest and strongest- Ralph does not have that much direct contact to go on. I think he is taking Pamela Harrisons letters as the tip of the iceberg. Thats a reasonable surmise; but I don't think theres much of an iceberg there, and a great deal more wait and see than he is figuring on.

Interestingly, Ralph mentions energy as one of the I think 3 main areas the government needs to move. And he writes wuite a bit about it. I think there is a combination of him not knowing the full range on which the government is moving, and his displeasure of how much orientation there seems to be to large wind farms and the centralized model that is part of. While the latter is problematic, it is an analysis that things areless than ideal. Its not that things are not moving.  

Fidel

What I can't fathom is that apparently Nova Scotia's two old line parties have been corrupt for a long time over 160 years in power. If Nova Scotians are angry now, then what took them so long? Do they expect the NDP to clean it all up inside the first one or two years in power? Are the NDP going to be blamed every time an old line party MPP crooks the taxpayers on his expense claims?

Unionist

Fidel, we'll get back to you in 160 years, at which time the NDP will have had enough time to cancel out 160 years of old-line party rule. That's assuming the voters are kind enough to be as patient as you apparently are. In the meantime, you appear to be misinterpreting the expense scandal. It wasn't just about one conservative lowlife MP - Dexter himself used public funds for personal use, as you know - and more importantly, the article I linked (if you care to read it) isn't about the expense scandal at all - it's about how the NDP is relating to its grass-roots supporters in social areas. You may wish to read it and reflect, perhaps even comment, on that. Kind of like what Ken has helpfully done, being close to the scene as he is.

 

Fidel

Well I think Dexter might be better able to do government business with a laptop. I'm not sure how an $8000 dollar electrical generator and big-screen TeeVee could be used for the same. Apparently the system in NS has been wide open to this kind of thing for a long time before the NDP were elected to government for the first time in 160 years.

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

Well I think Dexter might be better able to do government business with a laptop.

You mean two laptops - one for each lap? And don't forget the digital camera for over $2000.

And then, when caught, he paid the money back without comment.

Such a refreshing difference from the old-line party guy who resigned, though. Dexter valiantly decided to soldier on.

 

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Well I think Dexter might be better able to do government business with a laptop.

You mean two laptops - one for each lap? And don't forget the digital camera for over $2000.

And then, when caught, he paid the money back without comment.

Such a refreshing difference from the old-line party guy who resigned, though. Dexter valiantly decided to soldier on.

He prolly needed the laptops to keep track of and separate the old line party pork-barrelling schemes over 160 years before deciding on an executive plan of action to deal with the corruption engrained in the system out there after 160 years' worth'a Liberal and Tory dictatorial rule. A double redundancy of laptops to track the kick-back and graft of the two doubly redundant old line parties seems like a good idea to me. The NDP has to wade-in and start somewhere, because with the redundant electoral system, they've got four years to clean it up out there. That's not a lot of time compared to how long Liberals and Tories have had in gaming the system for themselves and rich friends of the doubly redundant old line party system on what used to be the right coast all'a time every time.

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

He prolly needed the laptops to keep track of and separate the old line party pork-barrelling schemes over 160 years ...

No way, José! "Liberal-Tory, same old story!" One laptop would do!

 

Fidel

One's okay for personal use, but for government business I think I'd want to have a backup, the people's business should be that important as to warrant two. Laptops are sometimes notorious for breaking down and conking out at crucial times, and the dog ate my homework doesn't sound too professional come Monday mornings. I can't imagine very many uses for a laptop other than work related tasks.

Unionist

Then why did Dexter take the money - and then give back the money? Why did he give it back? Oh, and is he claiming the laptops and digicam as business expenses come tax time? Why did the other dude resign, and not Dexter? Why did Dexter give the money back without an explanation to the public? Oh, and what about the laptops and the digicam now... are they property of the province, or of the premier???

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

 

Fidel

And don't forget Ron Chisholm mentioned twice: once for expensing a $750 dollar GPS system and again for his $1,274 dollar internet bill(s). Apparently Tory MLA Chisholm can't find his way to the legislature and home again without GPS, and he likes to surf on the taxpayer's dime. I can only assume that this former Tory government minister is no rookie when it comes to charging taxpayers for non-work related expenses.

Unionist

Fidel, what do you make of the fact that some of us find all stealing from the public purse reprehensible, while others only find some of it reprehensible - depending on who the thieves are?

 

Fidel

I suppose that for me it would depend on just how many babble threads critical of the NDP in the slightest one has dwelled on being critical of the same party on a fairly consistent basis whether they are new to government in a particular province where kick-back and graft has been the way for too long. If I was a plumber and I expensed a pipe wrench and some soldering tools to my employer, would  that be the same as if I asked them to pay for a big-screen colour TV, $8000 dollar electrical generator, my internet bills, or a GPS unit? Laptops are a common tool of both businesses and government in these modern times. Unionist, if you can show me or anyone that Dexter had business other than government business in mind when he obtained those laptops, I might think otherwise about Dexter. But you seem to want to lump Dexter in with Nova's illustrious history of crooked government dealings. Dexter's certainly no John Buchanan who can expect a patronage appointment to the senate after being accused of shady dealing while a member of Nova Scotia's government. Then again  that's just me and the way I think as lowly of fat-cat politicians who are shoved into those jobs instead of working and earning their way into such powerful political positions. I guess that says something else about me, too.

Unionist

Fidel wrote:
I suppose that for me it would depend on just how many babble threads critical of the NDP in the slightest one has dwelled on being critical of the same party on a fairly consistent basis whether they are new to government in a particular province where kick-back and graft has been the way for too long.

If you had the consistency to say, "oh yeah, that's wrong" when some NDP wrongdoing was being discussed, you wouldn't see one-tenth the posts and threads here that you do. But you've never done that. If you did, we could agree and still move forward supporting the NDP as the best alternative available. But when you defend Con-Lib type actions when they're committed by NDPers, one wonders what it is about the NDP we're supposed to support.

You see, Fidel, it's easier to be consistent. Then when discussing some public figures words and actions, you never have to stop and ask: "What party are they with?" - and adjust your attitude accordingly.

 

Fidel

Unionist, did either Tory MLA Hurtlebutt or Chisholm do anything wrong on their expense claims, or is this going to be all about Dexter and his moonlighting as a shady guy who sells hot laptops from the trunk of his car downtown?

Unionist

No, it's only the NDP that's evil and corrupt. The two old line parties are old, so they deserve our respect and support. Haven't I made that clear over the years of posting here? The NDP must go. They're upsetting our apple cart. Our Emperor is finely clothed, and the NDP is peddling their "nudity hypothesis". My God, your persistence finally paid off. You wormed, squeezed, dragged it out of me. My handlers won't be happy. In fact, I'm starting to worry as to wha

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Fidel

What will the world think of Canada now that Dexter tried to take Nouveau de Scotians for a couple laptops and PC camera? Will Americans think he's weird and just wanted to broadcast video of himself on the internet swallowing goldfish for a buck to pay for his dog's triple bypass operation, because Canada's health care is going down la toilette? Is Dexter really a schill for the US insurance lobby? Because I'm beginning to smell a rotten rutabaga out there on the orange coast. Darrell Five finger discount Dexter better keep his hands on the table where everyone can see 'em at all times. He's a one-man crime wave out there, I'm tellin ya.

Unionist

You don't get it, Fidel. The laptops and the digicam are irrelevant. But you're the one making some huge deal out of a Con's big screen TV - which you did, of course, before realizing that Dexter had done something similar - WHOOPS! That's why I've been pulling your chain about these laptops etc. - I don't care. And I don't care about HurlButt or whatever his name is. It's all a sideshow. But for you, no bad Con deed goes unpunished, while every NDP error goes unnoticed.

The issue in these threads is the behaviour of the Dexter government in fulfilling the expectations of its supporters and the people of Nova Scotia. Forget about some dumb scandal - especially one where Dexter is vulnerable - and focus on that. Please.

 

Fidel

I'll judge him and the NDP after one single term's worth. As long as he doesn't accept a senate appointment while he and members of his government are under investigation for corruption and leaving Nova Scotia $8 billion in the hole, I might not cast Dexter in the same light as John Buchanan's crooked Tory government and their colourful time in the sun. It's way too early for Darrell and the Apple laptop gang to be ranked among the serious old line party crooks out there.

Caissa

Elections Nova Scotia has fined the governing NDP $10,000 for accepting an illegal campaign donation from a trade union, and has referred the case to police.

The agency said the NDP took more than $5,000 from a single donor and failed to return $45,000 from eight unions and one union affiliate, though it "knew or should have known" the money was all from the Mainland Building and Construction Trades Council.

After the release of the report Thursday, party secretary Ed Wark resigned.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/02/25/ns-ndp-donations-fine-police.html#ixzz0gfng0uvC

Chester Drawers

Unionist I agree with you one hundred percent.  No one party is above the moral or legal rule of public office.  Your misuse funds knowingly you are guilty. Lib, Con or Dipper stealing is stealing, the color of the thief is irrelevant. It seems every organization is corrupt these days.

 

A little news from Nova Scotia.

The provincial NDP has been caught in a funding scandal during this election regarding a massive influx of money on a single day of the campaign. The hive-like organization of the NDP spreads down to its union affiliates as well. On April 9th, a resolution at the Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades Council was passed to reimburse member unions for their individual $5,000 donations to the NDP. Essentially, this packed the contributions into a $50,000 envelope and this was passed onto NDP party HQ. The scandal here is that what was essentially a $50,000 donation was made to look like 10 individual $5,000 donations (including one from the organizing union). The NDP received the cheques on the week of May 5th. Prior to this, they received a phone call to let them know these donations were coming.

The scandal broke on May 30th when a reporter got wind of what happened and called the NDP party office asking them about the donations. The party claimed to be unaware of the cheques. Two days later, the party felt it necessary to call a press conference to declare that they would return $45,000 worth of donations.

Chester Drawers

As a result of this the Nova Scotia NDP were fined $10,000 from the chief electorial officer as well as referral to the police for further consideration.

KenS

How about a link Chester for that account?

Just inadvertently forgot to attribute it to which Conservative blogger. And the account is sexed up significantly to portray it as a definite plot. The commissioner found no evidence of that.

Had the funds actually been returned as claimed she said she would have found no infraction. She found the infraction because when he returned the funds the Secretary asked the unions not to cash the checks until the issue was resolved. 

The referral to the police is over the question of whether the unions engaged in unlawful activity. The Commissioner only has authority to rule on the actions of parties and their representatives.

As far as the potential police inquiry/investigation goes: I don't know how much intent has a bearing, but this was the first election under these rules and I doubt they understood what they were doing. There was no attempt at all to cover tracks.

For the NSNDP, they are definitely expected to know the rules. I agree with the Commissioner- the business of saying you have paid the money back after finding out they were not in fact the seperate union contributions they appeared to be, but asking that the checks not be cashed, was inexcusable.

And I would add, unbelievably stupid.

E.Tamaran

I thought this thread was about Dexter, the TV show....That's why I clicked on it. It's just politics. Meh...

KenS

Latest Poll: NDP support numbers drop like a stone.

and

 Editorial

 

Quote:

Though the government has since moved to clean up MLA expense rules, it always seems two steps behind common sense and an angry public and clearly isn't going to have a fully credible overhaul in place before Nova Scotians are whacked with service cuts and tax hikes in the budget. So no wonder dissatisfaction with the government has soared - from 19 per cent in November to 41 per cent now.

The evaporation of public confidence has been dramatic. More people (54 per cent) were satisfied with Rodney MacDonald's doomed government a year ago.

And that is no exageration at all: a year ago the Tory government was seen as dead men walking.

And that poll was taken before the surprise of the fine for the illegal campaign contribution.

On CBC News there was also reporting of results from questions they commissioned, and would have been the same panel poll... but I can't find a news story for it yet. [Story on the questions they commissioned that Nova Scotians would pay 5 cents more for recyclable coffee cups, but not what they think about the prospect of tax increases. Go figure.]

74% do not want an increase in the HST [despite general understanding that its fated], and 70% do not want service cuts.

The kind of numbers you would see all the time. But given the consensus that existed that something had to be done, and the support numbers high even for a new government, you might have thought there would be some dialogue.

And that obviously was the plan for the lead up to the Budget no one expects to be fun. But instead the government reels from successive scandals coming to light.

Their support hasn't been hammered yet. But they really needed that nice honeymoon glow handed them- and its gone... just pissed away.

 

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

I'll judge him and the NDP after one single term's worth.

Seems from Ken's post that the voters aren't prepared to grant as long a honeymoon as you are.

 

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Let's not go overboard here.  According to the poll, the NDP would still recieve 46% of the vote if an election were held today, one point higher than they recieved in the election last year.

The media may want to portray this as NDP support dropping like a stone, but there isn't a political party anywhere in Canada that wouldn't be thrilled with 46%.  At least for now, the NDP support is holding pretty well.

KenS

In the first place, the other parties offer no competition. At all.

Read the article, and compare with previous support levels. Plus the fact that this last poll was before the fine for the campaign contribution that everyone had thought was long ago not an issue anymore. 

But more to the point. Those earlier support levels were unusually high for any new government. A rare gift. Special in its own right. Doubly so since we needed support levels like that to weather the difficult road ahead with the Budget.

So instead of engaging the people in a discussion, the government had no choice but to duck. And likely won't be able to come out from the woodwork until its time for the Budget.

They got elected flying under the radar. We'll see how well that works now.

KenS

I can agree that maybe its more accurate to say that the support has only dropped a lot, rather than like a stone.

Given the context I outlined, does that difference matter?

Stockholm

I think that gthe 60% support level was pretty unsustainable anyways. Who else gets that kind of a honeymoon? In fact most newly elected governments don't get anywhere near that kind of a bounce. In fact most get no bounce at all. There was little or no bounce for McGuinty after he was first elected. Harper almost never polled above his e-day numbers of 36% in 2006. Let's not even talk about Ed Stelmach or Gordon Campbell etc...who would have lost elections within months of winning one. probably the only premier in Canada who came in with sky high numbers and maintained them was Danny Williams - who is in a bit of class of his own. I'd like to know what the party support numbers were like for John Hamm 9 months after he won in 1999.

Its too bad that the NDP had to poll at 60% in the fall. It would have been better to have taken 44% on election day, still be at 44% three months later and then be at 46% now! But them the newspapers would have no story to write.

KenS

Its not just a story Stock.

I doubt that I've ever been accused of being unrealistic around here.

I know that 60% support level was unsustainable.

Like I said, it was a gift. and given what was ahead, a gift we needed.

It was guaranteed to come down as soon as Budget discussion was in circulation. And if after that it was anywhere near mid-40's I'd count that pretty good.

But we've been cut down to size already- before a peep has been said about the Budget. [And saying little or nothing by this point is telling enough in its own right. That obviously wasnt the script.]

NorthReport

 

Wow, I mean just wow!

NDP - presently 46%, election - 45%

Next closest party - presently 26%, election - 27%

Next closest party after that - presently 22%, election - 25%

Laughing

 

Stockholm

I can see you point about having spend political capital now on stupid stuff when that capital needs to be saved for after the next budget. and its unfortunate that there is bad publicity for the NDP that all relates to things that happened BEFORE they were even elected. But to start going on about plunging support when the party is still over 20% ahead of the opposition and ahead of what it got in the last election is a bit histrionic. It reminds me of reading Norman Spector going on and on about Obama's "plunging" support because all the people who voted for McCain who approved of Obama for about the first six weeks of his presidency went back to being - Republicans who would hate anything he did.Obama on a bad day is still twice as popular as Bush was in the last gtwo years of his presidency!

BTW: One thing i still don't understand about the expenses scandal - is why was it considered scandalous for Dexter to have used some of his expense allowance to buy a laptop computer? Doesn't it make sense for an MLA to need a laptop to be able to do his or her job effectively??

KenS

Scandalous is too strong a word by quite a bit. As to why it doesn't look good- I'd rather not go into that. But if you were here watching it unfold you would get it. And lets just that in the polar opposite of expectations on the other coast, the media has been very sweet in not asking tough questions.

[and correction: its 2 top of the line laptops and a high end camera]

Stockholm

I get it with the camera - but don't all MLAs get laptops automatically??

KenS

And by the way, I believe this is the first time that Darell Dexter's numbers underperformed those of the party- at least by a lot.

The numbers for the leader tend to track ahead of movement in those for the party/government.

That is a change from Darell being as much or more an asset as is Jack Layton for the federal party.

Fidel

KenS wrote:
[and correction: its 2 top of the line laptops and a high end camera]

[img]

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Ten years hard labour in the colonies. Where's my powdered wig anyway?

KenS

Thats three four to the rescue from across Canada.

Where is the Nova Scotia calvary?

KenS

There is also the issue that Dexter was paying his $3500 barrister fees out of consituency expencies. Then defending that on TV last Friday despite knowing how riled people are.

[ETA: "Those fees total $10,642.67 since mid-2006, says his office"]

First 3 letters in today's paper:

 

Quote:

Fees unprofessional

I read the article in last Friday's Globe and Mail about Premier Darrell Dexter charging the Nova Scotia taxpayers for the professional fees to maintain his standing as a lawyer. His rationale? "I use the knowledge and experience I have in relation to that every day in everything I do." As a provincial civil servant who pays his own professional fees, I could say the same. Yet I don't see Mr. Dexter offering to pay the professional fees of hundreds of civil servants who pay their own way.

Is there no end to these stories? And who are these people, and where did they get this sense of entitlement? 

Michael Colborne, Halifax 

 

Not job requirement 

Mr. Dexter, you don't need to be a lawyer to do your job. A gym teacher can do the job.

I think the old CCFers like Clarie Gillis, Mickey "The Boo" MacDonald and Russell Cunningham would not be too proud of your actions.

Pay your own barrister fees. 

Charles Metcalfe, Halifax

 

Arrogant remarks 

Watching the 6 p.m. CBC newscast Friday evening, I was infuriated with the arrogant remarks by our premier when he said he had no intention of repaying taxpayers for his annual barrister fees to the tune of $3,100. What a nerve he has to charge us for this fee.

It seems he is showing his contempt for us voters when he is thinking of raising taxes after his promise not to do so in May of 2009 during his campaign for leader of this province.

He has just committed political suicide. Perhaps "NDP" can now mean "Never Depend on a Politician."

The NDP is as bad as other political parties, as noted from the recent MLAs expense scandal. I am sure that many Nova Scotians who watched the CBC news that evening think the same. 

Edward Watt, Halifax 

The problem with the constituency expenses system is that it let MLAs spend it on whatever they wanted, and they had a lot of discretionary funds since the allowance was well above the basic needs of equiping and maintaining an office.

Many MLAs were scrupulous about the seperation between office expenses and what was de facto a personal expense that most people would expect to see paid out of their salaries. Not surprisingly, without any accountability, a number of MLAs were not so scrupulous.

This system was the idea of the Liberals and PCs, and the NDP spoke in committee against it. You would think that would lead to some Caucus discussion, if not standards, for the use of the allowances. There was already central direction or oversight on a number of key consitutuency office activities.

Nada.

So it bites. Big surprise.

Unionist

Fellow Nova Scotian Peter Mackay has just announced he will repay the $3100 in bar fees he expensed last year.

Slumberjack

Well, at least now we have a better sense of what the the NSNDP meant all along in presenting themselves as something different from the others.

Trough Pigs

Unionist

I'm trying to stop laughing long enough to scold you for being provocative, SJ. Laughing

Fidel

Looks like lunch time for senate fat-cats.

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