Both opposition parties, while they have no credibility on the issue, are still using rhetoric about “corporate bailouts”. Those words may play well in Halifax, but it is a strange way to try to win an argument in rural Nova Scotia. Helping to keep families afloat during a worldwide economic downturn is what smart governments do. They do it because it pays off. The investments pay for themselves through income tax, sales tax and job spin-offs. Expect the Liberals to drop the term to win back rural support, but expect the Conservatives forge on with Jamie Baillie’s attempt to rebrand the Conservatives.
The Conservatives may feel they are in a tough spot, but a year is a lifetime in politics. Expect them to try to present both a distinct alternative to Darrell Dexter’s NDP government, and a clear break from their past. Jamie Baillie needs to distance himself from Rodney MacDonald. He can do that by moving to the right – being more vocal on labour unions, on two-tier healthcare, and on taxes.
The Liberals will be under the microscope this session. Stephen McNeil, in a promise during a CBC interview, pledged to clearly explain Liberal policies for journalists, saying they would “lay out their vision and plan.” That could be an issue, as McNeil seems in over his head on energy policy, and waffles on far too many economic issues (a balanced budget, the Ships Start Here contract, the Lower Churchill Falls hydro project, etc). We have also heard that one of our favourite Liberal MLAs is not re-offering. We hope this does not prove true.
It took a hundred years for the Liberals and Conservatives to break Nova Scotia – the NDP should be able to undo 25 or so years of damage in their first five. On healthcare, poverty reduction, renewable energy and roads they are making great strides. The opposition parties will have to put on a brave face if the US economy (and thus our small town economies) improves. Job numbers are already higher than when the NDP inherited the Tories’ broken economy. If Nova Scotia’s prospects continue to brighten, the NDP MLAs will see gloomy faces in the opposition aisles.
Legislation you should expect to see:
– changes to improve consumer protection
– new rules for buses
– the Fall Capital Plan
– wilderness protection
– new Electoral Boundaries
Please continue to send us your tips and your story ideas. Enjoy the session.