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Columnists

Is Nova Scotia political culture changing for the better?

Photo: flickr/Charles Hoffman

It was just a little back-page story this week: "MLAs finally approve new rules for House." Big deal, right? Actually, yes -- not the changed rules, mind you, but the fact that after years of bickering the measure went through unanimously and the government miraculously accepted amendments from the opposition, which, in turn, was miraculously upbeat about it.

So what's going on? Is the devil dead, releasing our politicians from their obligation to sneer and snarl, or what?

In reality, our politics and political attitudes are changing, although in a back-page kind of way -- that is, in a manner too slow and complex for the public's short attention span to notice. New rules passed without acrimony is merely one example.

Columnists

Can we talk about equalization and the delinquent federal role?

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

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.

UP! Young workers take the helm in Nova Scotia's labour movement

Photo: flickr/ahblair

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.

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| March 25, 2014
Columnists

Irrational energy illusions and a gold-rush mentality: The case against fracking

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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.

Photo: Robert Hiscock/flickr
| November 19, 2013
August 2, 2013 |
Organizations across the Maritimes reject TransCanada’s proposal to ship 1.1 million barrels a day of tar sands oil across the country to a terminus in St. John, New Brunswick.

New Brunswick: Tensions rise as anti-fracking protests dig in

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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.

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Columnists

Atlantic Canada's perilous future in the face of a hostile federal government

Photo: Alkan de Beaumont Chaglar/Flickr

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.

Behind the spin: The real impact of Conservative EI reforms

Illustration: Kelly Bastow

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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.

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