Nova Scotia Election- the day after

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NewCanada NewCanada's picture

KenS wrote:

Most Babblers would be very dissapointed if they did not break this particular promise. You are preaching to the wrong choir.

No kidding. And here I thought that all the NDP apologists were going to agree with me. I was actually babbling at people who are capable of thinking for themselves, but thanks Ken.

KenS

Respectful character.

Is 'they all lie" any more a sign of thinking for oneself?

NewCanada NewCanada's picture

Actually I said they are all the same, not "they all lie." But I'm happy that you see it as lying, glad I'm not alone.

KenS

OK. Is saying "they are all the same" a sign of "thinking for yourself"?

KenS

KenS wrote:
Most Babblers would be very dissapointed if they did not break this particular promise. You are preaching to the wrong choir.

NewCanada wrote:
No kidding. And here I thought that all the NDP apologists were going to agree with me. I was actually babbling at people who are capable of thinking for themselves, but thanks Ken.

You might choose to misunderstand. But choosing or not:

It isn't 'NDP apologists' who would be disspaointed if the promise had not been broken. I was referring to Babblers in general, and the ones who generally have no time for the NDP are if anything the most likely to think the promise made stank. But around here at least, I'll bet all the Dippers were also glad to see this promise ditched.

There's 2 seperate questions:

Should the promise be held to no matter what?

is different than

Should it have been made in the first place?

But I'd hazard to guess that you aren't really interested in either question.

NewCanada NewCanada's picture

It shouldn't have been made in the first place. That's what I am saying. Thus the statement "they are all the same." If politicans pulled there heads out of their asses and stopped making promises they have no intention of keeping, I, and most Canadians, would be a hell of a lot happier.

KenS

NewCanada wrote:

It shouldn't have been made in the first place. That's what I am saying. Thus the statement "they are all the same." If politicans pulled there heads out of their asses and stopped making promises they have no intention of keeping, I, and most Canadians, would be a hell of a lot happier.

I never liked the promise either.

But it isn't only "NDP apologists" who are not angry about it. Sure looks like the vast majority of Nova Scotians are witholding judgement until they see the final results.

NewCanada wrote:
So why should we accept their bullshit any differently then we would have from Rodney MacDonald or anyone else? Heaven forbid we hold this government to the same standards we would for the Liberals or Tories.

We're both engaging in something pretty pointless here. I'm going to make a comment on the substance of a government floating the issue of raising taxes.

But I'll say in closing on this theme, that I don't think the standards should be any different.

KenS

All around the left, certainly on Babble, its bemoaned that virtually no government- NDP ones included- is willing to put forward the possibility of raising taxes.

Well, its happening- and we should all take a look and kick it around.

Granted, its being done under pretty extenuating circumstances. But so has been the fiscal situation for a number of other provincial governments that would not go there.

Leaving aside the question of the promise the NSNDP made during the election- which if anything made bringing this up harder- you don't have to be a cynic to see a set-up in having an independent panel float the trial balloons instead of a government doing it.

But substantively speaking: its a way to get things out there, and give civic society a chance to have the discussion. The alternative: people snicker imediately if the government were to raise the issue directly, and then the sharks start circling, and then....

NewCanada NewCanada's picture

This economic recession started well before the provincial election. It's not as if the NDP was unaware of the state of our province. So why should we accept their bullshit any differently then we would have from Rodney MacDonald or anyone else? Heaven forbid we hold this government to the same standards we would for the Liberals or Tories.

Respect is earned Ken, not given. Don't patronize me because I don't look at politics through orange-tinted glasses.

Oh and Stephen McNeill warned us that no party could balance the books.

KenS

All right, let's try Plan B
NDP ditches deficit promise, will probably break no-tax vow

Editorial: BALANCING THE BUDGET Bad promise, good advice

No freeze on public sector wages

 

In the articles Dexter only does not rule out tax increases. And certainly does not mention any specific increases. Those were floated end of last week in the panel's recommendations, as they originally [and quickly] floated that the government should try to balance the budget too soon. [And last week- 'how about not till 2012-13?'... the last year of the governments mandate.]

The panel also strongly recommended- and has made earlier suggestions- against across the board spending cuts.

In more extensive interview answers I have not seen in text, the Finance Minister made the point that previous governments have already done all the easy cutting [as per across the board cuts, and general depth to be expected], and said that 'they will look at' the panels specific tax increase recommendations. [In other words, expect to hear more about those soon.]

Ther is to be a formal public process in January, but I expect both Dexter and Steele will begin putting all this into public circulation sooner so they can see what develops long before the Budget has to be drawn.

J.P

Not sure how anyone of any political stripe could defend the flip flop on the George Bush, read my lips promise of no new taxes as well as a balanced budget! Stephen MacNeil stated so during the election and now everyone seems to be back peddling here saying it is different this time. On one hand DD is saying everyone must share in this in terms of cuts and tax increases which sounds fair enough to me......but then he says they will not freeze wages. If the wages of the government employees are at or near the line of poverty, then I agree with DD, if they are not then maybe let them share in the cuts as well by not increasing the wages until the budget is balanced!

What I have not heard is how we are going to get our health care budget in line. 15 years and counting before it consumes 100% of our budget? Other than party responses of protect it the way it is, any thoughts

KenS

Lead the way by telling us your plan.

J.P wrote:
promise of no new taxes as well as a balanced budget! Stephen MacNeil stated so during the election and now everyone seems to be back peddling here saying it is different this time.

Don't remember anyone saying, or even implying that. Reference maybe?

J.P

KenS ....are you serious? Have you read any of the quotes from your leader during the election or even today in the Chronicle? Is this your way of changing the subject? Now, back to my original statement and question, care to answer/comment?

NewCanada NewCanada's picture

Actually JP, I think Ken was asking you to reference who made those comments on this thread. Ken already clearly stated his position earlier.

KenS

Correct. Repeating what you said, and asking the same question:

J.P wrote:
promise of no new taxes as well as a balanced budget! Stephen MacNeil stated so during the election and now everyone seems to be back peddling here saying it is different this time.

Who here said "this is different"? or words to that effect. Point out where that was done.

 

KenS

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

No Help For Poor in NDP Ruled Nova Scotia:

http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/bruce-wark/2085

KenS

We've already covered this ground in the discussion here that begins Sept 29 and goes on for a number of posts.

Those weren't the last word, but I think its reasonable to ask people to read them over before launching into this again.

theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture

Nova Scotia's finances - who is to blame?

Apparently Nova Scotia is in a bad financial state. Premier Dexter's panel of financial experts have stated that the only way to achieve fiscal balance by 2012-13 is through a combination of 'significant' spending cuts and 'material tax initiatives'. There are some who cannot contain their partisan glee as they see Mr. Dexter suddenly confronted with the probability of reneging on the key economic promises on which he was elected; balanced budgets, no tax hikes and no cuts in services. We think this is being unfair and unhelpful. The only 'crime' the NDP may have committed is in making these promises while knowing the real economic situation, something we probably will never know.

There are villains in this story however, those responsible for using short term and one-time windfalls to expand government anywhere from seven to twelve per cent a year while economic growth, even before the recession, was far below these rates. The most prominent villains are the PCs under  Rodney MacDonald and maybe under Dr. John Hamm (depending on when this behavior started). They instigated the series of budgets that have crippled the finances of Nova Scotia. However the other villains are all those MLAs who voted for each of these budgets, whether PC or not. They knew the implications of each budget (and if they didn't then they should not be MLAs) and yet our archaic system of confidence and unbreakable party discipline ensured no substantive debate and caused these flawed bills to be passed. Our representatives and our political system have failed in their duty to protect Nova Scotians from their government and the ruling party. Now all of us are going to have to pay.

 

Lord Palmerston

It's hard to be excited about an NDP govt. whose main campaign promise was a tax cut - an eerily similar gimmick to Harper's GST tax cut. 

KenS

"main campaign promise was a tax cut"

??

Do you have any idea what you are talking about LP? Because I don't.

Lord Palmerston

The removal of the HST on home energy.  According to the CCPA, it saves the average Nova Scotian about $10 a month, but deprives the government of a great deal of revenue.

KenS

You said "main campaign promise"- which it was not even remotely like. In fact it was a running football kicked back and forth between the then government and the NDP for years back... this being the umpteenth itreation, and long before the election.

While it may be a bad idea, and the current fiscal situation with hindsight makes it worse. But even in that light, its a trifling amount, to consumers and to govt coffers. [Hint: $10 per month per Nova Scotian is not "depriving the government of a great deal of revenue."]

Lord Palmerston

I'm pretty sure that the HST tax cut was the most costly of their campaign planks.  The loss in revenue is not a "trifling amount."

[url=http://www.policyalternatives.ca/~ASSETS/DOCUMENT/Nova_Scotia_Pubs/2009/... Scotia Alternative Budget[/url]:

Quote:
The wisdom behind some NDP electorial promises likely to be in the budget are also questionable. Take the 8% tax rebate for example. According to the government, an 8% rebate on residential power bills will amount to a saving to Nova Scotians of an average of $10 per month. This is not a significant saving for those who are struggling to pay their bills. It is, however, a significant loss of revenue to the government. Of course should energy costs continue to increase as they have by about 9.5% on average per year, this program could cost the government more than they are projecting and barely offset electricity cost increases for the consumer. A better program would be one that is targeted to those who need help the most such as a guarantee of the cost of electricity via a subsidy to ensure that it remains affordable. In contrast, an across the board energy rebate also benefits those who are not struggling to pay their bills, those who have high energy costs because they choose to own large homes, for example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KenS

You said the tax cut deprives the NDP of a 'great deal of revenue'. At $100million per year, I'd call that a significant overstatement.

And even that is a deflection from my questioning your original comment:

Lord Palmerston wrote:
It's hard to be excited about an NDP govt. whose main campaign promise was a tax cut - an eerily similar gimmick to Harper's GST tax cut.
 

Let alone that it was not the "main campaign promise"- it wasn't even featured at all in the campaign. So you just made that up.

My first reaction to your comment was disbelief. But my second was that since I wasn't paying that careful attention, maybe I'd forgotten a campaign promise. I hadn't forgetten this one [that was actually made well before the campaign- the previous Fall I beleive], it just couldn't have been what you were talking about. So I asked.

Harpers tax cut by the way was [a] promised during the election campaign, and [b] has a huge effect on the politics of federal finances.

KenS

Most of the last 30 posts have been litmus test type attacks on the NDP and the government, or answers to those which also don't really get at the fundamental questions.

How about the point I raised is that we are now watching possibly the first instance of a Canadian government floating the idea of significant tax increases? [post#60]

Or the points earlier than that raised by Angella and by the CCPA questioning the framing of the debt issue.

Lord Palmerston

KenS wrote:
Let alone that it was not the "main campaign promise"- it wasn't even featured at all in the campaign. So you just made that up.

I really don't appreciate you claiming that I'm "dodging the question" or "making things up."

Here is the [url=http://www.ns.ndp.ca/assets/nsndpcommitmentslores.pdf]Better Deal 2009 platform[/url]

And yes, the removal of the HST on home energy is the most expensive plank.

 

KenS

It may be the most expensive plank. But $100million per year is not the drain on the treasury you overstate it to be.

And you did call it the main campaign promise. That would be something you hear about all the time from the campaign. If you lived here you would know that this promise was not new, and was minimally referred to during the campaign.

Even all together those 7 commitments themselves could not be really called the most important part of the campaign. And at least 4 of the 6 others were heard about more often than this one.

Lord Palmerston

Alright, it wasn't the "main" campaign promise.   We'll just have to disagree on whether it's "significant" or not.   The CCPA seems to think it is, but you're entitled to your opinion.

But I still don't appreciate your claiming that I'm somehow being dishonest or making things up. 

KenS

I didn't and wouldn't say it is insignificant.

And I certainly don't think you are being dishonest. "Making things up" is probably an overstated reaction to people being so into trotting out their litmus tests that they'll grab at an instance of it without stopping to wonder if they know what they are talking about.

Even though you don't live here, you are so sure that this fits the pattern you expect to see, that you assume it to be true. You've got lots of company in that.

KenS

 

I think it was already pretty obvious that the campaign pledge was dumped. We all know they couldn't up and say that. It doesn't take arcane tea leaf reading to see the signalled intentions.

And since you posted this morning- they made it more obvious with the tabling of the legislation to end the requirement that offshore gas revenues be used only for debt payment. The speed of all this surprises me. Its not just backpedalling.

I think it speaks well for them that they are willing to apply the goodwill and political capital they have to clear the deck- more adventurous than I thought they were or were going to be.

Angella wrote:
As you can see in the article, Nova Scotia's Debt to GDP ratio was approaching 50% in 1999/2000.  Now it is closer to 36%.  This is because of a concerted effort to pay down the debt.  The unsustainably high revenues that you speak of went into paying down the debt, not program spending.
 

Some of the unsustainably high revenues went into debt payment- the gas royalties and only those. During that time spending went up with the other revenue increases... and only the current tax revenue decreases can be expected to be temporary.

As noted, the gas royalties have gone down much more steeply and sooner than expected, and thats permanent now that we are into the ineviatble output declines.

The gas royalties will now just go into general revenues, and we will still have a substantial deficit next year.

Angella wrote:
So we can give the debt a break, and more or less maintain our 'sustainable' debt-to-GDP ratio, at least during the recession.  Maybe sometimes even 'friendlies' make assumptions that lead them to ignore the data.

And maybe some people are making assumptions that because I say things that overlap with 'common understandings' that it means I'm ignoring the data.

I'll read the report agin, but the numbers you've posted here are pretty selective and don't directly address the question. They challenge common understandings, but don't address what sustainability is now.

What you have said here delivers a message that the course of cycles will be sufficient to take care of accumulating deficits. Jumping ahead more than a bit: my read is that revenues are not adequate, even looking ahead to the complete end of the recession, and that we will require spending cuts and/or tax increases.

I don't know that, but I haven't yet seen an arguement to convince me otherwise.

Unionist

[url=http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/294.php]The Dexter NDP: Old Wine, New Bottle?[/url]

Quote:
At the August 2009 federal NDP convention in Halifax, the newly-elected Premier Dexter called on the party to reach out to business. He argued that past efforts to do so were undermined by the party's ‘rigid’ ideology. Dexter’s comments stood in sharp contrast to those of former federal leader Ed Broadbent, who made the case for defending traditional social democratic values. Broadbent stressed that universal healthcare, affordable education, government pensions and other measures supported by social democrats should be paid for “by adequate levels of progressive taxation.” Dexter insisted that his advocacy of tax cuts and reaching out to business was not a betrayal of the NDP’s core values, stating that: “The party is rooted in some very core values, and as long as we are grounded in those values I think we are free to take initiatives right across the political spectrum.” Dexter’s message was simple, get with the times: “This is not a party of the 1960s, we’re not a party of a generation ago, we’re a new modern political party.” [...]

It should not be a surprise that priorities of the Dexter government are very much at odds with those of the socialist Left. Yet, it is striking how much they have moved from traditional social democratic goals. The first NDP government in the history of Atlantic Canada is, like recent provincial NDP governments elsewhere, continuing the project of pursuing more humane version of neoliberalism. Broadbent’s call for an all-out assault on inequality sounds downright radical by today’s standards.

 

KenS

This piece was discussed in another thread, can't remember the name.

I commented on it extensively there.

KenS

I haven't tried that search engine for a long time. The one from the old babble was fine, the new one at least used to do nothing.

Anyway, thanks for finding it. If I remember, some of my comments recounting the history of the NS NDP on taxation, intersect with where that discussion goes in the Lewenza comments thread.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

This piece was discussed in another thread, can't remember the name.

I commented on it extensively there.

Whoops, sorry - I did check the last few Atlantic Region threads before posting this and didn't see it... it was just published on Jan. 3.

ETA: Aha! Found it, thanks to babble's new improved search engine:

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/ndp-power-manitoba-and-nov... NDP in power: Manitoba and Nova Scotia[/url]

I'll check that one out - thanks Ken.

Caissa

The all-party committee that sets the rules for MLA expenses is holding its first public meeting in the wake of the spending scandal.

Nova Scotia's internal economy board, which has always met in private, will start tightening the spending rules on Tuesday, even though the NDP government has already promised to disband the group.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/03/02/ns-mla-spending-open-board.html#ixzz0h21BkuFY

Caissa

The leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal party said he doesn't know why one of his caucus members suddenly resigned.

Dave Wilson tendered his resignation late Thursday afternoon. In an email Friday morning, the Glace Bay representative said he no longer feels he can fulfill his duties and responsibilities as an MLA.

He did not specify why he is quitting politics.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/03/12/ns-mla-resigns.html#ixzz0hyzsh1kF

KenS

This thread, and its predecessor, are where the expenses scandal has been discussed. Referring to that is not required, and the threads cover other topics... but inevitably someone is going to ask what this is about, or make comments that are out of context because they don't know the background.

Nova Scotia politics is certainly getting weird. For those who didn't read the article- its pretty obvious that Wilson knows he's in really deep trouble over expenses. Saying nothing because of potential criminal charges.

So we have one Tory MLA who quits in disgrace because of completey indefensible spending that was really for personal use. We have another Tory who did as badly, but was defeated so did not have to resign.

Now we have a Liberal who not only resigns, but indicates he expects to face potential criminal charges.

The Tories and Liberals wanted this system. The NDP argued against it. That was behind closed doors. But should have been sufficient to protect us from the big stink.

Should have....

Except that we didn't take that objection to the system and do the obvious prudent due diligence of overseeing how NDP Caucus members used the system.

And related to that lack of oversight, no coincidence that it is Darell Dexter who was the leader in charge then and who is now the only NDP MLA caught in the headlights for gross 'overblurring' of that line between personal and constituency office expenses.

Thank you Darrel.

 

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Wow.

Now this is setting up one of the more interesting by-elections to come around in awhile.

Cape Breton East is very similar to Cape Breton Centre and Nova, two ridings the NDP have held for awhile.  The Liberal incumbant was popular and did a good job keeping the NDP at bay in the riding.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a good shot for the NDP to take the seat.

Are these normal circumstances? 

Ken is correct in saying that the NDP and Darrell Dexter have some mud on their lapels from the expense scandal.  But the polls are still good, and the circumstances of this by-election are going to make it hard for the Liberals to campaign on the expense scandal issue.  Given that the Tories have also lost an MLA to the issue, they will also find it hard to score points against the NDP candidate.

Unless I'm missing something, this should be a really, really interesting test of the strength of the parties after all this mess.

KenS

Guess what- no party wants to go out there in a by-election in the forseeable future. The reasons to duck for the NDP in particular go beyond the lack of clean hands on the issue that includes Wilson's resignation... as if that wasn't enough by itself.

Stockholm

Didn't I read somewhere that the NDP already said that there would be no byelection in Yarmouth during the current legislative session? So, this would obviously also apply to Glace Bay.

My guess is that these byelections won't take place until summer - by which time this expense scandal will be old news - and something else will be "new" news. Its totally unpredictable who will win given that the current scandal hurts all parties and doesn't really help anyone and also given the peculiar tendency in Atlantic canada for byelections to often favour the ruling party as people still fall for the argument that if you don't elect someone from the governing side - your roads won't be paved.

NB: In 1998 the NDP won both Glace Bay and Yarmouth!

Stockholm

Here is an interesting tid bit I just saw:

"Former Liberal Cab. Min. Dave Dingwall rumoured to be looking at a return to politics. Sources indicate Dingwall is interested in recently vacated Grit held provincial seat in Cape Breton, N.S."

I wonder: a) how do people in Cape Breton feel about him after he was dumped in 1997 for being so arrogant and cutting so many gov't programs. B) can he live down his "I'm entitled to my entitlements" past in the sponsorship scandal? b) is he really willing to go from his gazillion dollar job to making the relatively paltry $80-$90k that NS MLAs make?

KenS

Who knows, or cares, what goes through Davey's head.

I don't think hes very reviled or liked localy. Anything's possible.

Centrist

What's going on in Nova Scotia?

Premier Dexter now has the same approval ratings (23%) and almost the same disapproval ratings as BC's horrific Campbell. That's unheard of. I never saw this coming!

Is the honeymoon over that quickly for Dexter?

http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/2010.03.15_Prem...

 

Stockholm

For reasons that I cannot explain, these ARG online polls tend to give ALL politicians much much lower approval ratings than phone polls ever show. These are the same polls that have Harper, Layton and Ignatieff all with approval numbers in the low 20s and even this poll shows several premiers with approval ratings in the teens! In fact, if you believe this poll, the only premier in Canada who has any popularity is Danny Williams (and for some inexplicable reason Brad Wall).

Anyways, i wish i had an explanation for why online polls seem to make everyone way less popular than phone polls. We can really see the pattern at the federal elevel where Decima had approval numbers for all the leaders and everyone was about 20 points higher than they were in the ARG online poll. (eg: Layton had 49% approval by phone compared to 26% approval online and so on)

KenS

In the last CRA poll there was a drop in Dexter's approval ratings. Not nearly as dramatic. But at 37% its the first time I beleive that he has not led the party's numbers. And leaders numbers do tend to track where the party is going.

Stockholm

Ken, that 37% in the CRA poll was how many people thought he would make the best Premier - not over all approval. Of course the Liberal and Tory leaders were in the high teens and there was a very big DK/NA

KenS

True. And is it not the best Premeir/PM that tend to lead where the party is going?

Stockholm

You have to remember that on the vote question - they remove the 40% undecideds and so you are looking at the decided vote only.

Look at the vote question - NDP 46%, Libs 26%, Tories 22% - but if 40% are undecided that means that the numbers are actually more like NDP 31%, Libs 15%, Tories 13%.

They don't remove the DK/NA from the best premier question so there its Dexter 35%, MacNeil 26% (bet that took a dive after the events of this weekend), the next Tory leader 11% and 26% DK/NA

So in fact Dexter runs ahead of the NDP 36% to 31%.

BTW: The poll also shows that government satisfaction is 49%

http://www.cra.ca/site-cra/media/CRA/10-1%20NS%20Tables.pdf

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