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.
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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.