Here's some good reading on the economic future of Nova Scotia. The Ivany commission on the "new economy" has written up what it heard on the road in an interim report (at www.onens.ca). In so doing, it has cleared much underbrush and roughed out a path forward, like Dr. John Ross's report did for health care.
In short, we may be getting better at grappling with our problems -- just in the nick of time as the economic prognoses get more ominous and as one-note Harperist forces to the West work to trivialize the Maritimes as a mere welfare case.
Let's pick up the story from the roots. The NDP was elected four years ago -- a remarkable, even desperate event in a province viewed as traditional and resistant to change -- to put an end to some 30 years of mostly out-of-control and sometimes corrupt government under Liberals and Conservatives.
What we were and are looking for, then, is proper and stable governance. This requires that the NDP both get it right, and get a second majority term. Instead, as of now, the NDP has got it only half-right and the prospects, according to the polls, are for minority government (of whatever party) and a return to political mayhem.
So what's right and what's wrong about the NDP, and what can it fix in the short time that remains?
Open-pen salmon farming in Nova Scotia is barely set up, and already it's a billowing disaster. The infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus has hit -- here as in many other places -- and reputable scientists are saying it may not be possible to grow salmon in open pens in these waters without the affliction.
The official solution is hardly convincing and somewhat startling. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has declared ISA fish fit for human consumption for the first time, and they're being processed and marketed. But the Americans don't want them crossing the border, and reputable grocery chains and restaurants don't want them either. Even if they are harmless to humans (if not necessarily to other fish), "eat sick fish" is hardly a winning ad line.
Change the conversation, support rabble.ca today.
Like you, I'm trying to figure out what we've got after the big forest conflagration as pulp mills go down at enormous public cost, ending with the province buying the Bowater lands in western Nova Scotia for some $118 million. Is it new hope or something else?
But before I get to that, let me fume a bit about the forest policy of the last 50 years by evoking a couple of low points that still niggle at me.
The last couple of polls indicate that Nova Scotia's NDP government is on the skids.
If that's so, here's a view of the shoals ahead for our once-again lurching ship: at the next election we'll have a choice of three parties on the skids.
The fact is that the opposition parties are still broken fragments of the old order, yet to reconstitute themselves as serious contenders for government.
Although they've made some occasional good points, they have yet to present themselves in more than just point-scoring mode.
So where are we at with the NDP government, a year or less from the next election?
The upbeat news first. You may not have even noticed, but health and the deficit -- those perennial torments -- are becalmed as political issues, thanks to some deft work by ministers Maureen MacDonald and Graham Steele.
True, we're far from the Promised Land on either one, but public carping on those issues is the lowest, and the sense of things being on course is the best, I've seen in 30 years.