What is wrong with the NS NDP?

28 posts / 0 new
Last post
greyscale
What is wrong with the NS NDP?

I hear a lot of talk on Babble regarding the Nova Scotia NDP and how they've made a massive turn to the right -- but I am unable to find any news articles or actual description of how/why/when they've made this shift. Would anybody be kind enough to direct me to any info on this? Thanks!

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Slumberjack

There was no shift as far as I can determine.  Here in NS in terms of the NDP and their predicates, we're in the territory of the proverbial Alpha and Omega, meaning it always was and always will be what it is now, with the exception perhaps of being the governing party next time around.  Because of the endless corruption, Neo-Liberalism finds it necessary to dress itself up in whatever costume of the moment that will best serve to distract the imaginations of the public who still bothers to vote.

onlinediscountanvils

[url=http://rabble.ca/news/2013/05/nova-scotia-why-dexter-ndp-government-defe... a Dexter NDP government defeat would be a progressive victory[/url]

greyscale

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

[url=http://rabble.ca/news/2013/05/nova-scotia-why-dexter-ndp-government-defe... a Dexter NDP government defeat would be a progressive victory[/url]

Thank you very much! This is a well-organized laundry list of complaints; exactly what I was looking for. 

KenS

But Slumberjack is right. Nothing has changed: the Dexter crowd has alwasy been like this. What you see now, is what you saw then.

Slumberjack

You know what.  Word up on that piece from Chris Brisbane.  Even though a lot of that information simmers just below the surface for many folks feeling betrayed out here, it still required a determined bit of excavation.

Quote:
 Also, seven million litres of potentially radioactive fracking waste water was recently processed through Windsor's water processing plant, and then released into the Minas Basin.  To date, water used for fracking in Nova Scotia was placed in holding ponds in Noel, Kennetcook and Debert. Standard water treatment plants are not designed to remove the kinds of chemicals and natural radioactive materials in water from fracking.

It should be mentioned that the Dexter government is aware of these practices.  There are the issues which attack communities directly as presented in the article, and the innumerable, everyday ugly things people are forced to contend with as well.

Quote:
The Nova Scotia government is well within its rights to ask the courts to dismiss affidavits from people who allege they were abused at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, Premier Darrell Dexter said Thursday.../...But Ray Wagner, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said Dexter was mistaken. Wagner said it is unusual for defendants to try to strike affidavits from the court record while a class-action lawsuit is at the certification stage. “We searched across the country for any precedence that we can find that replicated what the province has done here,” Wagner said. “We could find none.”

Quote:
The company, Atlantic Industrial Services, wanted permission to get rid of 4.5 million litres of fracking waste. The water is from drilling operations several years ago near Kennetcook in East Hants County.  The provincial government gave the plan partial approval, while the company argued the water will meet federal guidelines.  But the committee reviewing the project on behalf of the county said important information was missing, specifically, the chemical composition of the fracking water.

Quote:
Communications Nova Scotia budget tripled.  Fred Vallance-Jones, a professor of journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, said forms of communication such as news releases that were once neutral in tone have evolved into marketing exercises intended to drive the government’s message.  He said the provincial government’s communications have followed a pattern set by the federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The NDP and the left in Nova Scotia

This brings me to the last way of reading the NDP, which I believe is a much more nuanced and useful way to approach the issue. The question of the NDP should be looked at through the eyes of social movements and class struggle. Is the NDP in and of itself going to make life better for Nova Scotians, clearly not. Does having the traditional leftwing party create the conditions for others to do so, yes.

This is the case for two reasons, first off the NSNDP provides a little bit of breathing space for the left to reconstitute itself and organize. The NSNDP has brought in austerity measures and attacked students, destroyed Yarmouth, contracted out government jobs, done precious little for labour and barely ponied up for other progressive and environmental causes.

However, when compared to the Liberals and Tories in government it is understandable why workers and some on the left see the NANDP as a vast improvement. This space to organize affords the ability to not have to exert all of our energy on resisting the worst neoliberal reforms and begin to wage offensive battles.

Much more importantly though, having the NSNDP in power allows those to the left of the NDP who have a critique of capitalism and parliamentary democracy to point to the limits of social democracy. Sure, we can and should squeeze reforms out from the system, especially when the NSNDP is power, but we should also be making the point that NDP, within the confines of pure electoralism, has limits. It is not just that they won’t bring about substantial changes that improve the lives of most Nova Scotians, it is, that they can't.

 

KenS

Party poopers.

You can golf with Darrell Dexter

So there.

Slumberjack

Quote:
This brings me to the last way of reading the NDP, which I believe is a much more nuanced and useful way to approach the issue. The question of the NDP should be looked at through the eyes of social movements and class struggle.

Is the NDP in and of itself going to make life better for Nova Scotians, clearly not. 

The NSNDP provides a little bit of breathing space for the left to reconstitute itself and organize. This space to organize affords the ability to not have to exert all of our energy on resisting the worst neoliberal reforms and begin to wage offensive battles. 

It is not just that they won’t bring about substantial changes that improve the lives of most Nova Scotians, it is, that they can't. 

snip..snip.  Now it looks fine.   Smile

 

janfromthebruce

Should this not be in the Maritime thread?

I remember when labour attacked the rae ndp GOVT and got right leaning harris and the dark years. All the energy which was for not went to fighting the neocons.

The end result is that almost 25 years later, NDP can't recover. It doesn't matter if the cons ran a deficit in good economic times, destroyed education and engaged in welfare bashing, and so on, the rae NDP govt is endlessly brought up as the worse govt ever.

So be careful what you wish for. All those social movements didn't make a difference in the Harris years, just saying. The problem is that they end up balancing the budget and getting rid of the debt but don't get the 2nd term to steer the province in a more progressive way.

Slumberjack

I wondered when a shovel might arrive.

KenS

janfromthebruce wrote:

The problem is that they end up balancing the budget and getting rid of the debt but don't get the 2nd term to steer the province in a more progressive way.

Dont hold your breath. Presuming a second mandate for the NS NDP, it begins with a legislated promise of a 1% HST cut in each of the first two years. 

Which means they volunteered to continue doing spending cuts on the order of what we have been doing for the last 3-4 years.

onlinediscountanvils

janfromthebruce wrote:
I remember when labour attacked the rae ndp GOVT

Funny... I remember the reverse happening.

janfromthebruce

oh yes, the rae govt in it's fever to rain in spending as the federal govt downloaded onto the provinces, had to do something within their limits. They went about it wrong for sure.

This was the public sector unions and not the private sector unions here. In theory the idea seemed appropriate - nobody would lose their job but everybody would take 2 wks of rae days. Instead of letting the public sector unions hash that out, it was imposed. The public sector unions appeared to want to go through bargaining and let the last in be the first to go.

Rae wanted nobody to loss their jobs.

Incidently, I was working in healthcare at the time and did loss my job. Eventually I got a job in community healthcare (2 years later), and I much preferred taking 2 wks unpaid leave rather than no job at all. I have to say it. Because after that, I lost my community health job and the long years of no work or some contract work here or there was the "norm".

The Harris years were disgusting. Be careful what you wish for is all I have to say.

KenS

It is twenty years later now.

And what some NDP governments are willing to do, driven by what is called 'necessity,' is that much worse.

Comparing the Dexter and Rae governments are apples an oranges. The Dexter government has not done any wholesale attacks on public sector unions. But if you total everything up, I think they are worse than anything the Rae government contemplated. I think it was a different time, and a different place, and I think people were just more surprised/outraged. [And we're too polite in Nova Scotia.]

The other difference, is that there are no Harris Tories. You didnt just slip into having that ruthless government. They laid out their plans. They told everyone what was coming. And they did it.

That makes a difference in saying "careful what you wish for." If you only get something at best slightly better from having an NDP government, why should we care whether or not THEY win or lose the next election?

undecidedvoter

Interesting times in Nova Scotia for sure.  Dexter, from what I've seen, hasn't ran the province the way you would expect a NDP leader to run his or her province.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

undecidedvoter wrote:

Interesting times in Nova Scotia for sure.  Dexter, from what I've seen, hasn't ran the province the way you would expect a NDP leader to run his or her province.

Roy Romanow, Lorne Calvert, Gary Doer, Greg Selinger, Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark are the Western NDP Premiers who have governed over the last 15 years. Dexter fits a pretty standard mold for the Western NDP Premiers. So can anyone name any progressive initiatives that any of these men started that has made a significant difference in the lives of their citizens?

Aristotleded24

kropotkin1951 wrote:

undecidedvoter wrote:

Interesting times in Nova Scotia for sure.  Dexter, from what I've seen, hasn't ran the province the way you would expect a NDP leader to run his or her province.

Roy Romanow, Lorne Calvert, Gary Doer, Greg Selinger, Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark are the Western NDP Premiers who have governed over the last 15 years. Dexter fits a pretty standard mold for the Western NDP Premiers. So can anyone name any progressive initiatives that any of these men started that has made a significant difference in the lives of their citizens?

[url=http://www.gov.mb.ca/housing/neighbourhoods/index.html]Neighbourhoods Alive![/url] in Manitoba.

KenS

janfromthebruce wrote:

The problem is that they end up balancing the budget and getting rid of the debt but don't get the 2nd term to steer the province in a more progressive way.

KenS wrote:

Dont hold your breath. Presuming a second mandate for the NS NDP, it begins with a legislated promise of a 1% HST cut in each of the first two years. 

Which means they volunteered to continue doing spending cuts on the order of what we have been doing for the last 3-4 years.

And if you needed proof they really mean it about those promised tax cuts... here.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Interesting comment by Sharon Fraser (ex publisher of rabble.ca) on David Bush's blog post above:

Sharon Fraser wrote:

There are so many things I could respond to in this article -- although not as many as in an earlier article by Chris Brisbane. But I will limit myself.

cassius, the mainstream media, Nova Scotia Liberals and Conservatives have attacked the NDP government for not outsourcing jobs in cafeterias and laundries.  Here is an example of a false news story, planted by bureaucrats who were told they couldn't fire cafeteria staff.http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/taxpayers-top-up-money-losing-tim-hortons-at-halifax-hospital-1.1109211

Truth is that those Tim Hortons outlets break even, with unionized staff and no fatty-sugary menu items.  

The Liberals and Conservatives  have described the NS CUPE President as "the most dangerous man in Nova Scotia" because he is a senior economic advisor to NDP premier Darrell Dexter. The IBM agreement was discussed for months in advance with the union.  It was an agreement to establish a new 500-person IBM centre in Canada -- in Halifax.  No public sector worker lost their job.  The IBM jobs came with job security for those who left the government, higher pay and better opportunities for promotion.  Civil servants were able to collect a topped up severance allowance, and then start work at IBM.  No one had to leave the civil service if they chose not to.

Darrell Dexter said he would oppose, as he has for all his adult life, outsourcing that is done to lower wages, break unions, reduce workplace standards and generally contribute to the race to the bottom.  NDP policy has given NS one of the highest minimum wages, compared to the rock bottom minimum wage of Liberal years.  Rather than race to the bottom, the NDP is trying to get NS to race to the top . . . a big task after 250 years of Liberal-Conservative rule.  

Dexter spoke recently to the government employees union, which is not affiliated with the NDP. As the union reports in its news release, he got a standing ovation from grassroots delegates of Nova Scotia's biggest union.  http://nsgeu.ca/delegates-elect-swear-in-new-executive/  Dexter got similar responses from convention delegates at the NS Nurses Union, NS CUPE, and CAW-CEP.  

The NDP is the first NS government since the mid 1980s that has respected free collective bargaining, making no attempt to over-ride contracts and roll back wages.  The first to improve workers' organizing rights since the 1970s.  And relentlessly attacked by Liberals and Conservatives for it.  

There are always some who think that all criticism must be directed inward.  People in Nova Scotia who compare the actual record of the political parties in this province know that the NDP is making the first fresh start in many, many years -- and a distinctly left-of-centre progressive start.  

In this article, Bush says the government has "turned its back on the students" and notes that Brisbane didn't even mention that. Maybe because it's another gross exaggeration and maybe even Brisbane knew that:  http://studentsns.ca/2013/04/students-pleased-as-province-makes-significant-student-assistance-investment/

I could go on -- and on and on -- but I'll restrain myself. As some of you already know, yes, my husband holds a high position in the Dexter government. All the same, attributed facts is attributed facts, eh? Smile

Unionist

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:
I remember when labour attacked the rae ndp GOVT

Funny... I remember the reverse happening.

Congrats!! You both just made the [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/babble-banter/babble-hall-fame-version-x21#comme... of Fame[/url]!

janfromthebruce

Catchfire wrote:

Interesting comment by Sharon Fraser (ex publisher of rabble.ca) on David Bush's blog post above:

Sharon Fraser wrote:

There are so many things I could respond to in this article -- although not as many as in an earlier article by Chris Brisbane. But I will limit myself.

cassius, the mainstream media, Nova Scotia Liberals and Conservatives have attacked the NDP government for not outsourcing jobs in cafeterias and laundries.  Here is an example of a false news story, planted by bureaucrats who were told they couldn't fire cafeteria staff.http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/taxpayers-top-up-money-losing-tim-hortons-at-halifax-hospital-1.1109211

Truth is that those Tim Hortons outlets break even, with unionized staff and no fatty-sugary menu items.  

The Liberals and Conservatives  have described the NS CUPE President as "the most dangerous man in Nova Scotia" because he is a senior economic advisor to NDP premier Darrell Dexter. The IBM agreement was discussed for months in advance with the union.  It was an agreement to establish a new 500-person IBM centre in Canada -- in Halifax.  No public sector worker lost their job.  The IBM jobs came with job security for those who left the government, higher pay and better opportunities for promotion.  Civil servants were able to collect a topped up severance allowance, and then start work at IBM.  No one had to leave the civil service if they chose not to.

Darrell Dexter said he would oppose, as he has for all his adult life, outsourcing that is done to lower wages, break unions, reduce workplace standards and generally contribute to the race to the bottom.  NDP policy has given NS one of the highest minimum wages, compared to the rock bottom minimum wage of Liberal years.  Rather than race to the bottom, the NDP is trying to get NS to race to the top . . . a big task after 250 years of Liberal-Conservative rule.  

Dexter spoke recently to the government employees union, which is not affiliated with the NDP. As the union reports in its news release, he got a standing ovation from grassroots delegates of Nova Scotia's biggest union.  http://nsgeu.ca/delegates-elect-swear-in-new-executive/  Dexter got similar responses from convention delegates at the NS Nurses Union, NS CUPE, and CAW-CEP.  

The NDP is the first NS government since the mid 1980s that has respected free collective bargaining, making no attempt to over-ride contracts and roll back wages.  The first to improve workers' organizing rights since the 1970s.  And relentlessly attacked by Liberals and Conservatives for it.  

There are always some who think that all criticism must be directed inward.  People in Nova Scotia who compare the actual record of the political parties in this province know that the NDP is making the first fresh start in many, many years -- and a distinctly left-of-centre progressive start.  

In this article, Bush says the government has "turned its back on the students" and notes that Brisbane didn't even mention that. Maybe because it's another gross exaggeration and maybe even Brisbane knew that:  http://studentsns.ca/2013/04/students-pleased-as-province-makes-significant-student-assistance-investment/

I could go on -- and on and on -- but I'll restrain myself. As some of you already know, yes, my husband holds a high position in the Dexter government. All the same, attributed facts is attributed facts, eh? Smile

Thanks for posting that Catchfire. I so appreciate a different view from a prominent former rabbler.

KenS

For the bulk of Sharon's detailed defense of particular items from this government, I disagree with little.

Sharon Fraser wrote:

All the same, attributed facts is attributed facts, eh? Smile

Not in the category of attributed facts:

Sharon Fraser wrote:

People in Nova Scotia who compare the actual record of the political parties in this province know that the NDP is making the first fresh start in many, many years -- and a distinctly left-of-centre progressive start.  

Meh.

The claims this government makes for its accumulated achievements, I could list you something comparable for the previous PC government. Now, this government did so without running up debt, and with historically reduced revenues.

But the government has brought in a 1% reduction in the HST for next year that means $160million in NEW cuts. And another 1% and more new cuts the following year. The bleeding didn't stop with "Back to Balance."

For a lot of us, that is sufficient as deal breaker.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

KenS wrote:

The other difference, is that there are no Harris Tories. You didnt just slip into having that ruthless government. They laid out their plans. They told everyone what was coming. And they did it.

Hey! There's that BIG LIE about the "promise keepers" in the Harris government once again. Bury it a thousand times, and the zombie bones claw their way back up again.

 

PrairieDemocrat15

kropotkin1951 wrote:

undecidedvoter wrote:

Interesting times in Nova Scotia for sure.  Dexter, from what I've seen, hasn't ran the province the way you would expect a NDP leader to run his or her province.

Roy Romanow, Lorne Calvert, Gary Doer, Greg Selinger, Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark are the Western NDP Premiers who have governed over the last 15 years. Dexter fits a pretty standard mold for the Western NDP Premiers. So can anyone name any progressive initiatives that any of these men started that has made a significant difference in the lives of their citizens?

Harcourt: anti-scab laws

Romanow: no-fault insurance

Doer: banned corporate political donations, restored card-check, multiple minimum wage increases

Selinger: free cancer drugs for out patients, profit-sharing with FN on new hydro dams.

Not to mention all of them kept the conservatives and liberals out of office.

They were not much compared to Douglas, Llyod, Schreyer, Blakeney, Barrett and Pawley but still better than the alternatives in this neo-liberal, post-recession era.

onlinediscountanvils

[url=http://globalnews.ca/news/694852/nova-scotia-intervenes-in-paramedic-dis... Scotia intervenes in paramedic dispute[/url]

Quote:
Labour Minister Frank Corbett said the government introduced legislation Friday to send the matter to binding arbitration because it saw no prospect of a deal between the employer and the union that represents the 800 paramedics, who were in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Quote:
Throughout the day, dozens of them sporting red T-shirts carried signs and yelled outside the legislature protesting the government’s bill, accusing the NDP of stripping them of their collective bargaining rights.

“It doesn’t sit well with us as a trade union that either government or any aspect of government would take it upon themselves (to) drastically interfere with the process,” said Terry Chapman, the chief negotiator for Local 727 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It doesn't matter what party is in government there is a new rule in Canada. No union may strike if they are liable to successfully exert pressure on their employer. However unions that have no effective bargaining power can be locked out.

Interesting role reversal of the parties in NS with the Teacher's dispute in Ontario. Pragmatism is a disease of the body politic.

Quote:

Rick Clarke, the president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, said he believes in collective bargaining but understands the government’s action to intervene.

“If there was a contingency plan in place… and this legislation was on the table, which I don’t think it would be, we’d be down here in thousands. But we don’t have that,” Clarke said.

“It’s a very tough issue. It’s really a grey day.”

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the move to send the dispute to binding arbitration was warranted.

“We have a bill that will keep the paramedics on the job and provides for a fair settlement process for them and we’re here to support it,” Baillie said. “No games.”

But Liberal Opposition Leader Stephen McNeil opposed the legislation, agreeing with the paramedics that the measure takes away their right to strike.

“Let’s be clear, it’s an anti-strike bill,” McNeil said inside the house of assembly, where the faint sound of cries and car horns from the rally outside could be heard.

“There has been no work stoppage. We’re not forcing paramedics back to work. What we’re doing is taking away the right to strike from paramedics.”

CanadaOrangeCat

What, the NDP campaigning from the left and governing from the right? I thought it was only nefarious Liberals (and, come to mention it Conservatives with their talk of 'Democratic Reform' - none accomplished and 'Accountability' - denied) which did that...

Hypocrisy is especially delicious when it comes from NDP mouths, considering they are the arbiters of what is right and wrong and the very guardians of Canadian Identity...