Just checking...has the Dexter government done ANYTHING progressive yet?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
Just checking...has the Dexter government done ANYTHING progressive yet?

So far, it looks like it's just been Romanow's Saskatchewan-on-meth, with a fixation on imposing austerity to the exclusion of any other priorities.

Does anybody know if Dexter's government passed ANY legislation yet that could not have been passed by the Tories?

And, if it hasn't done so yet, does it still have time to do anything of value before the next provincial election?

If not...is there any good reason not to remove Dexter as leader?

After all, the man wasn't elected to be a Tory in an orange tie.

KenS

Of course they have.

But before that, being serious about talk of removing Dexter is a distraction. He deserves to be, fine. But asdide from the fact it just is not going to happen, the appropriateness is questionable. First of all, he is elected leader of the party. You don't just wave that off. And while the people do not directly vote for him as Premeir, they put him there. Suffice to say, he doesnt get dispensed with because the vanguard says he is not a real social demcrat. Or even because he isnt a real social democrat, period.

That said, if the government's approach is sufficiently unpopular within the party, he and his policies become toast. But we're so far from there that it feels presumptuous at this stage to suggest that as a possibility.

Horse before cart: what does the membership / base think?

KenS

But as to the AMOUNT of progressive stuff they have done....

Obvioulsy they see it as a potential sore point, because they've drawn up a two page pamphlet to hand to base types who ask questions. Ask your MLA a question, you get one of these. My family has a few now, or like me, gets it waved in my face.

I'll see if I can scan and post one. Suffice for now that each of the last two governments could do the same: a list of modest progressive achievements. Any government to the leaft of Attila, Harris and the HarperCons, its a routine part of governing.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's quite telling that there was a seven hour gap between the time I started this thread and the time that anyone could offer any answer at all.

Thanks for your response, Ken S.-and I'm sorry that it turned out to be such a complete waste of time for Nova Scotia New Democrats to bother working for the election of a government that feels no real loyalty to NDP principles.  How horribly hollow that must feel for you and every other Nova Scotia Dipper(other than those who got cabinet posts, of course-and such people rarely have any strong convictions about anything).

Perhaps someday Nova Scotia will have an ACTUAL NDP government.

Slumberjack

I can't say that I'm pissed, disappointed, surprised, feeling let down, or experiencing any sensation whatsoever along those lines.  Someone once more or less stated that it's enough at present to simply bear witness to the situation at hand, and to not shrink from the conclusions.

KenS

I'm pissed. And like a lot of people, I put a lot in for years. But it doesnt occur to me that its a waste.

It's all about the journey. Or something like that.

Not to mention that as a leftie you dont get invloved or close to the NDP expecting the moon for when the NDP governs. So unlike you, we're not measuring against ideal expectations. Generally speaking, if we are pissed, it is in relation to our 'realistic hopes/expectations'. Dissapointment was expected. You can't do it all.

Pissed is when you could never have imagined you would get something like we have.

And bear in mind, that there are of course plenty of New Democrats- not just the Ministers and ones with government jobs- who think this is all perfectly acceptable. There probably always will be more of them than there are malcontents. ['Systemwise': the malcontents leave, and are 'replaced' by footsoldiers for whom winning in staying in power is all they need.] But a big tent should be able to keep everyone except the maximalists inside. And besides what should be- it is questionable whether a narrowed base is enough for winning elections. An NDP government can get ever more popular with the voters. But if in doing so it really alienates too much of its base, that popularity will end and/or there won't be enough footsoldiers.

But you catch something elese that is significant. There are a lot of New Democrats who are in between: neither convinced and angry like me, or finding it all quite acceptable.

There would be a lot of people in between: who are not convinced it as bad as I suggest, but who know there is at least something that warrants thinking about.... and discussion, even if they dont fully acknowledge that.

And it's pretty silent here. There is one other known poster in the NS NDP who sees the situation similar to me, so he/she doesn't have a compelling reason to be part of the conversation. Then there are several more who do post here, but who are silent. Let alone lurkers, some of whom themselves eventually do pipe up at least once on issues that matter to them.

I would not say that surprises me. But it's notable.

David Young

Do you people really think that after the election of the first NDP government in Nova Scotia's history in 2009, that they would be able to undo six generations (142 years!) of Liberal and Tory mis-management in the first few years?

Do you????

It took the Douglas CCF government in Saskatchewan more than one term to get the province's finances in order before they could start changing the political landscape, and that's what's going to happen in Nova Scotia.

Yes, there are things that I wish this government would do that they haven't, but I look at what they have accomplished, and I can see that they are planting the seeds for the future.

And I think the future in Nova Scotia is going to be very bright, unlike those who think so much has to be accomplished so soon after taking power for the first time.

If Tommy Douglas could do it in Saskatchewan, then Darrell Dexter can do it in Nova Scotia.

 

Slumberjack

Well, no, no one in their right mind would expect that.  But the faithful in their heart of hearts likely wouldn't expect something self described as 'new' to double down on past practices either.

KenS

David Young wrote:

It took the Douglas CCF government in Saskatchewan more than one term to get the province's finances in order before they could start changing the political landscape, and that's what's going to happen in Nova Scotia. 

Good to see some signs of life here.

Since you brought up the comparison....

You are absolutely  right that it took the Douglas CCF government more than one term to repair the damage they were left with. SK was all but bankrupt.

That is not the case here.

The NDP government inherited a fiscal situation that lately had let a structural deficit get established. That is not on the same order as a bankrupt treasury.

In fact, the situation here in NS has EASILY been turned around in less than one term. 2009 Budget was the PCs. 2010 Budget was pretty much stay the course, just stop making things worse. And in TWO budgets, half a term, the structural deficit is history.

The shock doctrine treatment we are getting was only "necessary" because the inner sanctum decided it wanted the structural deficit gone in 2 years. If that had been spread over 3 years, we wouldnt have these steep cuts in the classroom and the deficit budgeting would still be gone before the election.

The only possible reason it "had" to be done in the two years instead of 3 is so that the set-up was there to be able to announce the tax cuts before the election.

In every single discussion I have had with Dippers defending this government- whether its the grassroots activists like you or the Ministers- every single one of you keeps talking about how all of us supposedly refuse to acknoweldge the need to balance the books. Even though I point out every time that the depth of the service delivery slashing is because of the "need" to balance the books AND cut taxes. Not once has one of you recoginized that the tax cuts is a big part of the slashing picture.

Not once.

Its like the tax cuts just dont exist.

Inconvenient.


 

KenS

David Young wrote:

Do you people really think that after the election of the first NDP government in Nova Scotia's history in 2009, that they would be able to undo six generations (142 years!) of Liberal and Tory mis-management in the first few years?

And remind me, what is it that these other parties did that is now being "undone" by this government?

Steep austerity budgeting that includes tax cuts- that sounds like what we expect from the other parties.

Not that I'm sure we could expect it from the other Nova Scotia parties. This is what we got and get from the HarrisTories and HarperCons, and a sprinkling of it from Chretien/Martin.

The future you are waiting for David is here, right in front of your eyes.

 

Fidel

Yeah they were doing just fine in NS before the NDP came along and screwed things up. 

It could be worse. They could have Pinocchio McGuilty running things into the ground and Tories waiting in the wings.

kathleen

This is the one of the many messages I receive from the NDP government extolling their generous, social democratic virtues.

"...this is the Jamie Baillie (Conservative leader) who said government should "hold the line" on spending to meet growing demand for homecare and Seniors' Pharmacare, just for the principle of balancing the budget and cutting taxes...."

And this is the Dexter government doing exactly that.  Balance the budget and cut taxes. Austerity. Cut education, cut healthcare, f..k the poor.

I won't vote for them again. I'd prefer to have them in opposition where they at least pretend to have social democratic virtues.

Wish it weren't so.

 

Does anybody know if Dexter's government passed ANY legislation yet that could not have been passed by the Tories?

No.

1springgarden

Has the Dexter NDP lost direction?  The NDP government's declared goal was to hold public sector wage settlements to 1% for a few more years in the interest of "Back to Balance".  However last week the government settled a possible health care strike with a minimum 2%, 2% & 2.5% agreement, likely setting a pattern for public sector bargaining in 2012.  Dexter didn't have to agree to wage increases that almost track inflation, he could have fought the NSGEU in the court of public opinion where he would have found a sympathetic audience in a province that is in deficit.  Initially, one might wonder if Dexter agreeing to public sector wage increases of 2%, 2% and 2.5% will pose a challenge to the 2013 "Back to Balance" pledge and the 2014-15 HST cut legislation.

However, 1% or 2.5%, these wage increases are likely beside the point as Dexter gives a taste of his long haul 2012-2015 austerity drive:

CBC May 2 2012 wrote:
"Capital Health raises could mean layoffs: Dexter"

"Unions, when they're negotiating, know or should know that increases in wages sometimes lead to reductions in staff," he said.

Dexter said he expects the raises will cost between $3.3 million and $4.9 million in the first year of the agreement.

Dexter said the possibility of layoffs should not come as a surprise to anyone, least of all health workers.

"I don't think I'm saying anything that people who reasonably look at the situation wouldn't already understand," he said.

"Certainly, people who are knowledgeable about the health-care system would know it better than most."

">http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/05/01/ns-wage-incre...

Now, if a $3.3-$4.9 million negotiated wage increase means layoffs in the health care system, what will $221 million in cuts required this year to deliver a 2013 balanced budget mean?  And what will $380 million more in cuts in 2013 and 2014 required to deliver a 2% HST reduction mean?  Answer: Dexter's "2% wage increase = job cuts" equation is just smoke in front of the $600 million in austerity and job cuts already planned to get to Balance next year and deliver a 2% HST cut thereafter.  Whether 2% or 1% wage settlements, there is already years of austerity and job cuts lined up to meet the 2013 "Balance" and 2014-15 HST cut commitments.

Darrell Dexter, NDP master of illusion, watch this trick.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

David Young wrote:

Do you people really think that after the election of the first NDP government in Nova Scotia's history in 2009, that they would be able to undo six generations (142 years!) of Liberal and Tory mis-management in the first few years?

Do you????

It took the Douglas CCF government in Saskatchewan more than one term to get the province's finances in order before they could start changing the political landscape, and that's what's going to happen in Nova Scotia.

Yes, there are things that I wish this government would do that they haven't, but I look at what they have accomplished, and I can see that they are planting the seeds for the future.

And I think the future in Nova Scotia is going to be very bright, unlike those who think so much has to be accomplished so soon after taking power for the first time.

If Tommy Douglas could do it in Saskatchewan, then Darrell Dexter can do it in Nova Scotia.

 

It's not about demanding Utopia...it was about the RIGHT that NDP supporters had in Nova Scotia to expect, at a bare minimum, no lost ground.  Besides, Dexter can't do nothing but austerity in his first term and then be progressive later.  That stopped being possible in the Nineties...Romanow in Saskatchewan demonstrated this.  Bad at the start means bad all the way through.

Tommy Douglas didn't add a huge number of social benefits in his first term(although he did strengthen unions and pass many other progressive bills during that period)but there was no lost ground for the workers or the poor there either.  They at least held their own.  There were no cuts in EDUCATION funding, the one thing that should always be sacred under an NDP government

Only the rich benefit from putting "balancing the books" before fighting for social justice and human equality.  If Dexter is like this in his first term, he will never change.  Can't you see that?

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Ah but the NDP cuts come candy coated with sugary sweet orange topping.   That should make them much better than Liberal or Tory cuts.

KenS

I wonder how much people can follow SG's point about Dexter's pre-emptive sleight of hand scapegoating of health care workers.

The logical order goes like this:

Health care job cuts were already an inevitable consequence of the continuing wave of austerity cuts. First it was schools. Next is health care- but no blood until after the election, and Dexter has the free hand of being early in the second mandate.

The contract just negotiated for 2% instead of the 1% the government has been demanding and getting, comes to a grand total of around $2million in extra costs. Spread across a good size system, not the kind of costs that set layoffs in motion.

Dexter is just using this as an opportunity to scapegoat unions and their 'fat contracts' as the cause of the layoffs next year that will be required by the continuation of austerity budgeting so the government can do the tax cuts.

1springgarden

Thanks Ken.  You know, I accept the premise of 'Back to Balance', that it's difficult to do anything while in deficit.  But to promise a post-balance HST cut is just neo-liberal madness, the province clearly can't afford it.

If NDP public-sector bargaining amounts to small raises premised on job cuts, well that's offensive for starters and raises the question "How can the province afford an HST cut?"  Answer: It can't.

It would have been respectable for Dexter to say, "There is no money for raises, raises can only come when the economy grows" and fight it out in public opinion, on the picket line, whatever with doctors, teachers, civil servants.

Corresponsingly, tax cuts should only come as the economy grows, not through austerity.

I know I'm repeating what has been said here, but many NS NDP members don't get it that tax cuts funded by austerity is straight out of the neo-liberal playbook.  So far, there is no institution on the NS left to challenge the NDP.  So it must be repeated STOP THE NDP HST CUTS.

KenS

That said, I'll bet I am overlooking some weblinks to left perspectives on the government here. Or maybe a Coast article? Or something like that....

Appreciate seeing that shared. [Other than CCPA material.]

KenS

1springgarden wrote:

... many NS NDP members don't get it that tax cuts funded by austerity is straight out of the neo-liberal playbook.  So far, there is no institution on the NS left to challenge the NDP.  So it must be repeated STOP THE NDP HST CUTS.

Good point about the lack of institutional framework on the left that is outside of the NDP. The effects are noticable.

I submitted an article for Rabble that intrepid [and swamped] editor Derrick is planning to run. Rabble being a web-based media, Derrick of course asked me for for links to other left analysis. I thought about it, and drew a blank.

There is of course the Halifax branch of the CCPA. But Christine already blogs for Rabble [and I don't thnk thay have anything new out that captures the recent and rapid moving events].

When you are in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal you take that pool for granted. And that extends to the Peterboroughs and the Prince Georges. No surprise that in a whole province of a million people, we're a bit thin on that.

There is certainly a lively activist base outside of the NDP. But not even a 'semi-institutional' framework of any kind, outside of our seperate organizations.

Fidel

radiorahim wrote:

Ah but the NDP cuts come candy coated with sugary sweet orange topping.   That should make them much better than Liberal or Tory cuts.

... and past Tory and Liberal government corruption. I think they were tossed from power for good reasons.

Fidel

.

KenS

Bullshitting your own supporters to hide what you are doing... sounds pretty corrupt to me.

KenS
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm curious - what was Dexter's campaign theme, or what were his campaign promises, if any?

KenS

Small stuff.

No big or even medium size promises.

Mostly "trust us" "good hands" "not them" etc.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks. He must have had a reason not to promise anything big.

Slumberjack

To try and be fair and balanced and all of that with the slim pickings available to us...I recall something progressive like being mentioned recently about taking a look at predatory cell phone contracts in the province.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Again - thanks!

1springgarden

KenS wrote:

Small stuff.

No big or even medium size promises.

Mostly "trust us" "good hands" "not them" etc.

How about

1. Balance the budget "Live within our means"
2. Won't raise taxes

Those were big promises, the second was made late in the campaign after the PCs/Libs raised the old "tax and spend" saw.  There was a lot of skepticism and concern both inside and outside the NDP of the viability and desirability of #2. 

How Dexter's NDP has contorted themselves around those two promises has been the story of this government.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

This is why no left-of-center party should EVER make a "no new taxes" pledge.  When you do that, you pledge to not BE left-of-center when in power.  You pledge to carve the status quo into stone.  And you tell your most loyal supporters "you don't matter and you have no right to expect anything".

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"no new taxes" is a conservative meme, anyway - I can't think of a reason for a progressive party to make such a dumb promise. As leader of a government, I would promise new taxes on the rich. Smile

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The "no new taxes" pledge means you've agreed to live on your knees, rather than die on your feet.  You might be alive(or "in power"), but life and power couldn't actually be of any value if you have to be on your knees to have them.

It's as if Dexter is the last traumatized Seventies social democrat...the ones who were beaten electorally by the Thatchers and the Reagans and decided that perpetual living surrender was the only possible survival strategy.

Fidel

I know? Let's vote NDP in every province and territory, and then we can raise taxes evenly and progressively across the country instead of playing each province against the other in Neoliberal Darwinian fashion?

It's either that or strong central government in Ottawa. I don't know of any other ways to stop the neoliberal race to the bottom without exporting jobs and young people to other provinces or even to other countries. Criticizing NDP governments for not racking-up debt like the two other parties do in government doesn't seem to be working. 

I think provincial NDP governments are worthwhile voting for just from the point of view that they aren't getting their hands stuck in the public cookie jar. Provincial NDP govs aren't pawning-off the family jewels and silverware at the drop of a hat, either. That has to be worth something to those with future plans for socialism in one province. In the meantime not becoming another Greece or Latvia or Ireland I think is a worthwhile goal.

KenS

What the NDP ran on in 2009.

 

KenS wrote:

Small stuff.

No big or even medium size promises.

Mostly "trust us" "good hands" "not them" etc.

 

1springgarden wrote:

How about

1. Balance the budget "Live within our means"
2. Won't raise taxes

Those were big promises, the second was made late in the campaign after the PCs/Libs raised the old "tax and spend" saw.  There was a lot of skepticism and concern both inside and outside the NDP of the viability and desirability of #2.

 

You can argue that those had big effects. But they were not featured in the campaign.

I think whether or not making these promises pretty much led to where we are now is a distracting question and is beside the point.

The government had got away from the promise to not raise taxes. You do not get away from something like that without it leaving marks. But lots of things leave marks even on governments like this with consistently high rating [and half witted opposition parties]. The media never brought it up of their own accord, and only occassionaly reported the low cred opposition parties bringing it up in the Leg.

 

So far the spinmeisters are just pretending that the depth of the austerity cuts is ENTIRELY about 'balancing the books'. Eventually the defensive position will have to recognize the tax cuts are related. Then it will be the mythology that politically the tax cuts were a given- that we would be beat up on that question without the tax cuts. Blah, blah, blah.

No question that winning another majority promises to be easier with the tax cuts [if the angry reaction in the base can be contained]. But there wont be a shred of discussion about whether it was necessary to win, and what was the cost of doing the tax cuts.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's worth it to have a provincial NDP government even if that government actually ends up doing things(like these budgets and the tax cuts)that put it to the RIGHT of the Tory government it replaced?

It's not like Dexter's going to be able to be to the left of this stuff if he gets a second term.  Start with cuts and you pretty much end up doing nothing BUT cuts.

I'm sorry, but there are some things I can't say...and "It's ok when OUR guy(or gal, or transgendered individual) does it" is one of those things.

KenS

Night Of The Governing Dead

Zombies Took the NS NDP !

 

Zombie-in-Chief:

 

[img]http://thegrainery.ca/images/FrankDarrell.JPG[/img]

1springgarden

@ KenS: ROTFLOL!  Zombie Dexter in those shades, ahahaha!

 

In other HST cutting news... Opposition plays "chicken" with NDP on HST cut promise:

May 11, Chronicle Herald wrote:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/95167-liberals-press-for-hst-cut

The Liberals tried to squeeze a further tax cut guarantee from the Dexter government Thursday, though they're not committing to the same cut.

The Grits tried to change the Financial Measures Act to say that if the NDP is in power in 2014 and doesn't follow through on a commitment to cut the harmonized sales tax by a percentage point, an election would be triggered. The HST cut is already part of that legislation.

But Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil balked at committing his own party to lowering the HST if it is in power. Rather, he said, the Liberals would do a comprehensive tax review.

"If that's the tax that we need to change to make an impact for Nova Scotians, the one that'll be a job creator, that's what we'll do," he said at the legislature.

"But we need to make sure we can afford to do it."

Despite that concern, McNeil said the New Democrats should again commit to the cut, considering their history on the HST.

"This is a commitment that this government has made going into the campaign," he said. "We're asking them to live by it."

...

Dexter dismissed the Liberal amendment.

"It's just playing politics and being a nuisance," he said.

 "But we need to make sure we can afford to do it."

 They all know the HST cut is unaffordable.