Another budget shock -- the Nova Scotia deficit for the past year is approaching $700 million, a revelation followed by declarations that the new Liberal government's honeymoon is over. I don't actually remember a honeymoon -- just the usual numb anxiety while awaiting the needle -- but let's examine this continuing struggle with debt, deficits, a weak economy and young people leaving against a wider backdrop.
I first started attending union meetings, rallies and pickets in Nova Scotia when I was a student organizer. I worked among folks who thought I, at the age of 28, was ancient.
But when it came to organized labour, I was one of the few under 35s in the room. When we would enter, I swear I could hear a collective sigh of relief "oh good, the youth are here."
While the majority of those involved in our unions are still a good decade (or three) older than me, my peers have recently taken on leadership roles. Three of five labour council presidents in Nova Scotia are under 35. What led to this surge in youth leadership has barely been explored.
With anti-fracking protests ongoing in New Brunswick, Premier David Alward has been going around with a strangely blissful look on his face, proclaiming his determination to forge ahead because of the gusher of tax revenues and jobs he claims will surely follow.
New Brunswick, running deficits of over a half billion dollars a year, is especially desperate, which is unfortunately what all this is about. But the issue reverberates in other provinces, including Nova Scotia.
Tensions are rising at the Highway 126 anti-fracking camp near Elsipogtog First Nation in Kent County, New Brunswick (traditional regional name: the Wabanakik). With the total number of arrests climbing from 17 to 29 on Friday, National Aboriginal Day -- and the heat of last weekend's confrontation, which led to the hospitalization of a community member, still heavy in the air -- a sense of momentum is palpable.
Budget time is approaching in Nova Scotia, as elsewhere. Not just any budget time, but that special variety that precedes an election (this fall, I'd guess). You can usually tell by the tension in the media/political complex. The government is preparing for the buckets of vitriol that will fall on its head when it announces that it can't balance the budget this year as promised, and there's a howl over a $27-million accounting error in last year's budget.
Got change? Want change? Spare some and get some by becoming a member of rabble.ca today.
Three questions are worth bearing in mind as we consider the proposal to reform EI.
First, what does public opinion reveal? Those with even a shred of respect for democracy will take into account what the priorities of the citizenry are.