rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Trickle-down cuts have created a revenue shortfall in Nova Scotia

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/flickr

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies -- a.k.a the Atlantic Institute to Comfort Its Affluent Corporate Sponsors While Afflicting the Rest of Us With Neoconservative Nonsense -- offers fawning support for Premier Stephen McNeil's "fiscally responsible" decision to preemptively eliminate bargaining rights for 75,000 provincial public sector workers. And praises McNeil's "important" step to wipe out arbitration alternatives built into public sector contracts.

No surprises there. AIMS never met a public servant it thought shouldn't be paid less. Or, better, have their jobs privatized so profitable corporations could eliminate their pensions and benefits while making real jobs into McJobs.

Who needs arbitrators?

Or a Charter of Rights?  

AIMS wishes McNeil had invoked the "notwithstanding clause" of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to make it impossible to challenge the constitutionality of his almost certainly unconstitutional legislation for five years. "The issue could drag into the courts for years," AIMS blithely rationalized in a press release. "One might as well as well have invoked the constitution's notwithstanding clause from the start."

Who needs rights?

It's fascinating how easily the government and its AIMS cheerleaders transformed a much-needed discussion of our "revenue problem" into a rationale for still more cuts to exacerbate said problem.

The government's latest fiscal update -- released the same day it introduced its has-to-be-passed-yesterday public sector wage legislation -- only highlights its hypocrisy.

The numbers show we don't have an expenditure problem; we have a revenue shortfall.

While government spending was within 0.05 per cent -- a rounding error -- of initial budget projections, revenues are down. We have a revenue shortfall for many reasons, some a direct result of AIMS' neocon priorities.

After decades of slicing, dicing and chopping corporate taxes in the belief it would encourage investment and job creation, corporate tax revenue plummeted another $45 million with few jobs to show. Trickle down? Torrent up?

Revenue from personal income tax is down too. Some of that reflects the government's decision -- AIMS cheered -- to decimate the province's film industry. Their shared wish list for 2016 includes privatizing profitable public sector registries.

Combine that with frozen public sector wages, reducing how much income tax people pay, reducing the amount they can spend, reducing government HST revenues... and you have a recipe for more of the same, only worse.

Happy 2016.

This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber's Halifax Metro column.

Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/flickr

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.