Nova Scotia election drumbeat

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Lens Solution

Looks like the Liberals are levelling off in today's CRA poll, but the NDP numbers aren't going up much.  It actually looks like the PC's are picking up a couple of points.

 

Liberal - 54%

NDP - 27%

PC - 17%

 

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1156248-the-chronicle-heraldcra-...

Lens Solution

I don't normally watch SUN News, but here's the interview with Abacus pollster David Coletto:

 

Can Nova Scotia's Liberals blow a big lead too?

 

David Akin - October 3rd, 2013

 

http://blogs.canoe.ca/davidakin/atlantic-canada-politics/can-novas-scoti...

janfromthebruce

LS, I'm not sure how Ling leans. He appears more libertarian.

Unionist

Lens Solution wrote:

Isn't Justin Ling a Conservative commentator?  What is his point?

Oh yeah, sure, Justin Ling is a Conservative Libertarian. Right.

[url=http://rabble.ca/taxonomy/term/17433]Justin Ling[/url]

Saints preserve us. Apologies, Justin!

 

Lens Solution

Maybe I got that confused.  Justin Ling had written a prediction of another win for Stephen Harper in 2015, so perhaps I assumed he was Conservative.  Maybe that's just what he *fears* will happen.

 

janfromthebruce

McILVEEN: When it comes to politics, negative spin obscures reality

The author didn't sugar coat anything:

Dexter’s biggest mistake has been allowing the Opposition, particularly the Liberals, to set the unrelentingly negative storyline for his administration.

For whatever reason, he has failed to stand up for himself and his government until the last week or so — too little, too late.

As in life, it’s not always what you do. It’s what you are perceived to be doing.

snip

The NDP have made some good policy decisions: balancing the budget without wholesale job losses, setting up community emergency care clinics in underserved communities, funding insulin pumps for children and regularly raising the minimum wage, which helps young people and part-time workers.

So much so that McNeil has promised to carry out NDP spending promises, which, in political terms, is saying the guy you’re trying to defeat is competent and has good ideas.

Dexter is running on his record and Baillie has a fairly detailed platform that explains his plans. McNeil has promised increased funding to education, to break Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly and to reduce the number of health boards, but has been vague on how he would implement those promises or what else, if elected, he intends to do.

So there you have it — voters poised to throw out a hard-working guy whose administration has, to many observers, been competent on the big issues but lousy at selling itself to the public, and to elect a guy with a thin platform, a good PR machine and, at times, a tenuous grasp of the facts.

But, hey — that’s politics.

KenS

The discussion about more than "competency" has lately taken place at What lessons should the Federal NDP take from the Nova Scotia experience/coming nightmare?

KenS

If you think its all about "competency" then I suppose that a lot of that is true. I dont disagree with those parts- as far as they go.

"Competency" is what media commentators like to talk about. They never soured on Dexter. 

But it misses the point about Dexter's self inflicted wounds. They werent about "not communicating" how great they were.

And MacNeil does not have a great PR machine.

FIRST, Dexter government destroyed their own credibility... with no help from the opposition, and with a mainly friendly local media. They had pretty much completed that over a year ago.

THEN, the Liberals marched in and took the opportunity served up. They've been utterly incompetent at doing politics since 1999, but that was bound to end. 

The reason thin platform wins is that all that is required is not being Darell Dexter. Spice modestly with a couple no brainer promises- like ditching the HST tax cut, which was dead in the water anyway.

Piece of cake.

Lens Solution

Latest polls suggest some erosion in Liberal support

UPDATED 12:03 p.m. Friday

New polls show the Nova Scotia Liberals coming back to earth, but it may be too little, too late to change the outcome of the election.

Liberal numbers have taken a hit while the NDP and Progressive Conservatives have surged in the last three days of Corporate Research Associates polls.

The Liberals had been polling in the high 50s and as recently as Sept. 30 had a three-day average of 56 per cent to the NDP’s 28 per cent and the Tories' 14 per cent.

But from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, the Liberals fell to 47 per cent support, with the NDP rising to 31 per cent and the PCs rebounding to 20 per cent.

The margin of error on these results is large because of the smaller sample size. The margin of error for the last three days of polling is six percentage points 19 times out of 20.

If you add the numbers together, the Liberals sit at 52 per cent support for the whole week with the NDP at 29 per cent and the PCs at 17.

But the trend of the race narrowing was echoed by an Abacus poll conducted earlier this week that placed Liberal support in the high 40s.

CRA president Don Mills said he is not surprised by the results. He said the Liberal support was unsustainably high and he expected it to come down in the final days of the election campaign.

-------

Read more:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1158384-latest-polls-suggest-som...

 

janfromthebruce

And also the NDP has taken the lead in terms of trusted most about healthcare.

Earlier this week, the Liberal Party had a clear advantage among voters who said that jobs and the economy and health care were the most important issues facing the province.

When we include last night’s tracking into the previous two day’s data, we find the Liberal advantage on those two issues is gone.  In fact, the NDP has taken a small marginal lead on best party to handle health care (among those who reported health care as their top issue).

http://abacusinsider.com/nova-scotia-election/day-3-sun-newsabacus-data-ns-polling-nova-scotia-public-opinion-polls/

And also noted that the editorial here finally challenges McNeil on his "misinformation" - EDITORIAL: Subsidy sparring and the naming of grants, meow

Mr. Dexter is right. These production subsidies are very generous grants. (So why don’t we just call them that?) For film and digital, they cover 50 per cent of qualifying expenses (which can be up to 100 per cent of direct local salaries and 65 per cent of third-party labour costs) and 60 per cent of these expenses if the work is done more than 30 kilometres from Halifax City Hall. The cost is open-ended. The industry decides how much subsidized production it wants to do here.

Payroll rebates are grants, too. Like the digital and film subsidies they are conditional grants, paid when the recipient spends to create local jobs. The same goes for the NDP government’s $260-million forgivable loan to modernize the Irving Shipyard, which Mr. McNeil opposes. The loan is only forgivable if Irving meets job targets that will return more than 10 times the loan amount in provincial taxes.

janfromthebruce

And Steven Lewis in town to help out:

Stephen Lewis at the Dartmouth Chapters with #DartmouthNorth @nsndp candidate Steve Estey!

Embedded image permalink

janfromthebruce

Came across this education blog and recent posting by Ben Sichel whose with the NSTU

Hey teachers: Stephen McNeil won't save you

Anyone paying attention knows that teachers are mad at the NDP. Early in its mandate the Dexter government made large cuts to school board budgets, angering both educators and parents. While some rural schools with tiny classes occasionally made the news as symptoms of declining enrolment, some schools in HRM were bursting at the seams with elementary classes of up to 29 students. (That’s a lot of 5-year-olds in a room with one adult.)

The government slowly began to hire back teachers in order to reduce class sizes and bring the student-teacher ratio back to 2009 levels, but the Department of Education’s budget is still between $35 million (if you believe the department) and $65 million (if you believe the Liberals) less than it was pre-2009.

The Liberals stepped in and seized upon the mass discontent, promising to put $65 million into the public school system in order to hire more teachers and other educational workers, and launch a “comprehensive review” of the Nova Scotia curriculum, which they say hasn’t been done in 25 years. Class sizes in grades primary to 2 would be capped at 20 students under their plan, and at 25 students in grades 3 to 6. This compares to the NDP’s plan of capping class sizes at 25 for all grades from primary to 6 (P-3 classes are already capped at 25).

snip (an aside, better hope that these aren't "hard caps" because that creates other kinds of headaches in terms of school organization, particularly if higher grades have no caps)

All this to say that small elementary class sizes, proposed by all three major parties with the Liberals’ cap being the lowest, are a good idea. Assuming these promises are kept (I know, I know), they could provide some much-needed relief for over-burdened teachers and neglected students.

Anyone hoping for deeper educational improvements under the Liberals, though, will almost surely be disappointed. To start, most Nova Scotians go to school beyond grade 6. There’s no mention of class caps for grades 7 to 12, even though several high schools in HRM this year are reporting classes of 35-40 students.

snip

Perhaps even more worrisome, however, is the Liberals’ vague talk of “curriculum review.”

First off, the party’s presentation of the issue is entirely misleading, giving the impression that Nova Scotia schools are still teaching exactly the same thing they did in 1988. I heard Liberal candidate Patricia Arab, a teacher, say this in the Fairview-Clayton Park candidates’ debate, even though she would know that curriculum documents are constantly changing; as a case in point the African Canadian Studies 11 course didn’t exist in 1988 and got a brand new curriculum in 2009, and the NDP’s much-touted full-year grade 10 math curriculum just took effect this year.

Claiming that the curriculum hasn’t changed in 25 years – ostensibly something quite different from not having had a “comprehensive review” – is disingenuous and just plain bizarre.

Second, according to the Liberal platform the review would be led by a “Blue Ribbon [sic] panel of experts” and focus on “aligning the needs of our economy with the skills of our students” as well as “[l]iteracy, numeracy, and creative thinking.”

I’ve had no luck so far in trying to find out who exactly would be on this Blue Ribbon panel, but given the track record of “experts” who want to align curriculum content with “the needs of our economy,” it might be time to start to worry.

snip

The language used here is that of the corporate-driven education “reform” sweeping across the U.S., and making inroads in Canada. In this line of thinking, standardized tests are the best measure of a school’s effectiveness, and results are compared across schools and jurisdictions. Teacher autonomy is reduced, and non-testable subjects such as music, art or phys ed are de-prioritized.

Basic literacy and numeracy skills become the only focus of education (saying you want to improve literacy and numeracy is politically similar to saying you want to lower taxes), teachers are de-professionalized, and their unions demonized. Schools are constantly said to be in crisis, even if their standardized test scores rise or stay the same. (See this report which shows that Nova Scotia’s scores barely budged between recent testing periods.) You can read much more about these topics from authors such as Drs. Diane Ravitch and Lois Weiner.

It's exactly what happen and where education becomes focused on lit and nur and the arts, well it just doesn't get the bucks. But who does well is the testing industry. Anyway, it's a good read from an educational and teacher perspective and union "long view".

 

janfromthebruce

Statement from @SolidarityHFX on #NovaScotia's provincial election, voting and organizing: http://bit.ly/15WvSX9  #NSpoli #NSvotes #NSelxn13

5. Elections do matter. There are significant differences between a party with social democratic roots like the NDP and parties of the ruling class, like the Liberals and Conservatives. These differences do matter in our lives and the lives of thousands of our friends, families, co-workers and neighbours.

snip

6. The first NDP government in Atlantic Canada has been a disappointment for most folks, especially their left-wing supporters. Instead of bold progressive leadership, we saw a cautious, mildly left-of-centre government. However, this political centrism should be no surprise to anyone, as this is exactly what the NDP ran on in the 2009 election. What's more, the NDP has not, in recent history, ever presented itself as socialist or anti-capitalist. A sense of betrayal is therefore unwarranted and knee-jerk support for opposing parties can have real damaging effects.

It's a good thoughtful article and may be read in full on rabble front page.

KenS

Solidarity Halifax wrote:

What's more, the NDP has not, in recent history, ever presented itself as socialist or anti-capitalist. A sense of betrayal is therefore unwarranted and knee-jerk support for opposing parties can have real damaging effects.

Two problems with this:

No one around here is calling for voting for other parties.

Zero.

[Not even our resident Liberal troll calls for voting for other parties.]

Note where they are coming from. Because the NDP is not anti-capitalist, it is by nature inherently deficient, barely worth voting for. It is because they see the NDP as always capitulationist, that they see a sense of betrayal as "unwarranted".

The idea that the NS NDP government may be a betrayal of even a minimal standard of social democratic principles does not compute for these folks.... because social democracy is itself a betrayal of [real] socialism.

eastnoireast

i just got polled two nights in a row by the automated forum poll, which seems like a pretty slack programing glitch.

or maybe it's my "evangelical christian" (press 2) god Wink that  pulled a few strings, er, lines of code.

either way, i'd be voting green.  if i could. 

so it looks like "none of the above" will get my vote tommorrow.

sorry ken ...

Hunky_Monkey

Yes, Dexter forgot the "little guy" when he fought for the shipbuilding contract that will mean 10,000 jobs here.  Forgot about the "little guy" when he restored the children's dental care program so low income kids without coverage can get dental care.  Forgot about the "little guy" when he took 24,000 low income seniors off the income tax rolls.  Forgot about the "little guy" when he created the Affordable Living Credit and the Poverty Reduction Tax Credit.  I guess he was fighting for the "rich" when he introduced a new top tax backet on those making over $150,000 a year.

Wow, the misinformation and assumptions made out there especially by people who don't even live in NS.  Are you getting your information from the Nova Scotia Liberal Party?

Brachina

Hunky_Monkey wrote:

Yes, Dexter forgot the "little guy" when he fought for the shipbuilding contract that will mean 10,000 jobs here.  Forgot about the "little guy" when he restored the children's dental care program so low income kids without coverage can get dental care.  Forgot about the "little guy" when he took 24,000 low income seniors off the income tax rolls.  Forgot about the "little guy" when he created the Affordable Living Credit and the Poverty Reduction Tax Credit.  I guess he was fighting for the "rich" when he introduced a new top tax backet on those making over $150,000 a year.

Wow, the misinformation and assumptions made out there especially by people who don't even live in NS.  Are you getting your information from the Nova Scotia Liberal Party?

Thank you for providing the other side of it. Most of what I hear about NS politics I get off of rabble's forums so that has coloured my perception of Darrel Dexter.

Sharon

janfromthebruce, the young man with Stephen Lewis and Steve Estey in the photo you published above is my son William. Steve Estey has a number of disabilities -- he was chair of the UN commission for the rights of people with disabilities -- among others, he's profoundly deaf. William worked with him on many days during the campaign doing door-to-door canvassing. William would text what the people at the doors were saying and Steve would read off William's phone. You can see that William is holding his phone to be read in this photo!

Sharon

To add to Hunky_Monkey's list of things the Dexter geovernment did to make life easier for people:

 

  • The NDP is covering the cost of insulin pumps and supplies for eligible youth to age 18 and supplies for people 19 to 25 with type 1 diabetes, who use an insulin pump.
  • The NDP increased the Nova Scotia Child Benefit by 40%.
  • The NDP introduced and indexed the Affordable Living Credit to provide financial support to 240,000 households who earn less than $30,000.
  • The NDP also introduced and indexed the Poverty Reduction Tax Credit to support about 15,000 of the most vulnerable low income Nova Scotians, many of whom have disabilities.
  • Over a thousand more children a year have places in daycares and pre-schools around the province, making childcare more affordable for Nova Scotian families.
  • The NDP took the HST off more family essentials including children’s clothing, footwear, and diapers.
  • The NDP created Nova Scotia’s first Affordable Housing Strategy, with model projects already starting.
  • The NDP increased income assistance personal allowances enabling approximately 31,000 adults to better provide for themselves and their families.

And by way of a slight correction, the improvements to the dental plan are not just for low-income childre but for all children. The NDP increased the age for children’s basic dental care, from 10 to 13. Coverage will be extended to age 17. This will make Nova Scotia’s Oral Health Program one of the most accessible dental coverage programs in Canada.

Stockholm

So what i really can't figure out is why the Dexter government is apparently so unpopular. There have been no major scandals, no major economic catastrophes, the economy is somewhat stagnant - but that has been the case for the past 60 years in Nova Scotia. i just don't see what they have done that merits being so low in the polls.

cco

What time do the polls close?

Sharon

Good question, Stockholm, and no one seems to have an answer. The most common speculation is that being NDP, this government was held to a much higher standard than other recent governments in Nova Scotia and it seems not to have lived up to some people's expectations. The government has admitted it wasn't perfect -- a good example of those expectations I just mentioned; who ever heard tell of a government having to admit it wasn't perfect? -- but it actually has a list of accomplishments that puts other recent governments to shame.

As with other NDP governments around the country, it had to fight criticism from both the right and the left. Certainly some of its own supporters took exception to its direction on some issues. And there are always single-issue people who are unhappy with the way their issue has been handled -- or not handled.

Here are the government's 50 accomplishments. It actually makes good reading:

http://nsndp.ca/accomplishments

 

Sharon

Polls close at 8:00 p.m. -- in one hour.

KenS

Stockholm wrote:

So what i really can't figure out is why the Dexter government is apparently so unpopular.

I'll get there, but it will be in the other thread: lessons from NS.

And it probably wont be until after the results.

But I wont be saying anything original. Stephen Kimber is naming a very essential part of it in his Rabble piece, and he isnt the first either.

 

Sharon wrote:

Good question, Stockholm, and no one seems to have an answer.

"No one seems to have the answer."  ????  Like I said, Stephen Kimber isnt the first to say it [hes just scratching the surface- but the nub is there].

KenS

Hunky_Monkey wrote:

Wow, the misinformation and assumptions made out there especially by people who don't even live in NS.  Are you getting your information from the Nova Scotia Liberal Party?

Right. People you disagree with are 'misinformed,' and lead by the nose by other parties.

Same crap critics get constantly from the oil industry.

Sharon

Well, KenS, I read Kimber and many of the other pundits, commentators and columnists differently from you. Kimber actually opens saying why? This wasn't a disastrous government: why? Other observers said similar things. I have had conversations with people covering the government who shake their heads and say, of course it's not a perfect government. But why the overwhelming negativity and outright hostility?

KenS

Selective reading.

Steven Kimber wrote:

 Many expectations -- the NDP would govern differently -- were self-created [by the NDP], the wounds that followed self-inflicted.

The government botched the MLA expenses scandal, which involved members of all parties and incidents before the NDP took office. But Dexter came across as prickly, defensive, hardly a practitioner of new politics. By the time the NDP brought in tighter, more transparent rules, they'd already squandered their hard-earned "we'll govern differently" currency.

 

I'll expand later, in the other thread, on what Kimber is saying.... and how it poisoned the well.

KenS

Sharon wrote:

I have had conversations with people covering the government who shake their heads and say, of course it's not a perfect government. But why the overwhelming negativity and outright hostility?

I've said more than once before that the media has never soured on Dexter or the government.

And I personally do not dispute that the government has done a lot to deserve being re-elected... let alone compared to the alternatives.

But you all refuse to face two crucial things that also happened.

1.] The base was betrayed by the depth of the education cuts, when they find out later that it is not only about balancing the budget, but also all along has been about the undisclosed "need" to cut the HST.

2.] I doubt that particular betrayal matters much to voters in general. But for the cuts to play OK to the general public, there had to be trust. And the Dexter Bubble torched that early on.

KenS

Looking like a rout shaping up, and PCs doing pretty well.

Howard Epstein waited until after the polls closed, but said to the CBC that the NDP is going to get thumped. His words.

ghoris

Very few results from Metro Halifax so far. Many of the seats reporting have only a few hundred votes counted. That said, I agree with KenS that the PCs are showing surprising early strength. Could be a tight race for Official Opposition, and I would not rule out a Liberal minority at this point.

KenS

Liberal currently lead in every METRO seat.

CBC announces Lib govt- not majority called yet.

ghoris

Looks like the NDP vote is bleeding to both parties - to the PCs outside Metro Halifax and to the Liberals inside it. So far the NDP is doing very poorly in Metro Halifax - Dexter is now trailing and only one NDP candidate (Mat Whynott) is leading.

KenS

10 elected or leading for PCs

7 for NDP

KenS

Even Maureen MacDonald trailing. Not by much.

But hard to imagine a safer seat for the NDP.

KenS

Of all people, Stirling Beliveau is leading by more than a small margin.

KenS

NDP wont be shut out of Metro. But reduced to a couple seats is beyond belief.

A real joke if Darell keeps his seat, and hes very close. I'm pretty sure his hope is to lose it.

KenS

CBC at 9:07: majority govt.

ghoris

It would be strange indeed to see the NDP shut out of Metro and reduced to a handful of rural seats.

I suspect there is a bit of an "Ontario 1990" factor at work here - people wanted to "send a message" to the NDP but ended up going overboard. I just cannot believe that voters are that enamoured of McNeil and the Liberals or that angry at Dexter and the NDP.

KenS

28% PC  25% NDP. About half votes in. Turnout appears to be high.

Well... going out in style.

KenS

No NDP declared elected yet.

Gordie Gosse way ahead in CB Centre

Denise in Chester - St Margarets quite a bit ahead

ghoris

Maureen MacDonald now back in the lead (barely) in Needham. As the commentators on CBC put it, if someone like Maureen MacDonald is in trouble in a seat like Needham, that demonstrates the extent of the NDP collapse.

KenS

The NDP is highly unlikely to get more than 6 seats.

The PCs have 5 declared already [zero for NDP] and is leading in 6 more.

So its third party status.

That is beyond unfortunate.

ghoris

All the media outlets are reporting results from 51 seats. Does anyone know which one is not reporting?

ETA: I see there are now only 51 seats in the Assembly. My bad.

jerrym

The CBC also said about Maureen MacDonald's riding that when you are in a tough riding race in a tradional NDP riding where the shipbuilding program is going to occur after the massive subsidy to Irving, you might at least expect at least a positive response in the riding, even ir the reaction against the subsidy in the rest of the province was quite strong. 

This electoral response sends a powerful message about such large subsidies to NDP parties not only in Nova Scotia, but elsewhere. 

1springgarden

 

 

I agree.  Excessively robust industrial policy / corporate welfare was a big negative for the electorate with the NDP government.

KenS

If its any consolation, Sharon and the lot of you, I'm no longer interested in fighting over the rubble.

Have a nice day.

Geoff

Voters chose the real Liberal over the Liberal pretender; no big surprise.  This has been the year of the Dix and Dexter show, which clearly has received poor ratings from the electorate.  The NDP has no future anywhere in the country as a 'Liberal-lite' party.  Lesson learned, we hope. 

 

ghoris

Dexter has lost his seat. NDP facing total wipeout in Metro. Who are the Magnificent Seven who have survived the bloodbath so far?

bekayne

ghoris wrote:
Dexter has lost his seat. NDP facing total wipeout in Metro. Who are the Magnificent Seven who have survived the bloodbath so far?

Paterson-Rafuse, Corbett, Gosse, MacDonald leading

Wilson, Belliveau, Zahn elected

janfromthebruce

KenS wrote:

If its any consolation, Sharon and the lot of you, I'm no longer interested in fighting over the rubble.

Have a nice day.

Actually KenS I saw you absolutely giddy in the romp. Now no complaining going forward about the govt in NS b/c I saw you hoping for this outcome.

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