Liberals polling about banning strikes?

Stephen-McNeil-LiberalNova Scotia’s Liberals have a history of flashing left and turning right. An opinion poll run by Gandolf Group suggests a few paths Stephen McNeil would drive down if given the chance.

The following is a list of possible policies and initiatives that a provincial government could undertake in Nova Scotia. Please tell us whether you would strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose each.

  • Breaking Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly.
  • Banning healthcare strikes.
  • Accelerating development of Nova Scotia’s natural gas deposits for export.

The first potential Liberal policy seems to be more of a commercial than an energy policy. The latter policy option seems to be testing the waters for a fracking boom should the Liberals ever get elected to government. It is the middle option that Nova Scotians should be concerned about the most.

The last time the Liberals were in power saw the worst period of labour unrest in Nova Scotia’s recent history.

  • Angry nurses suggested wildcat strikes after the Liberal government refused to give the chief negotiator a mandate to resume talks.
  • Nova Scotia’s 60,000 public-sector workers said they’d walk off the job if the Liberal government didn’t restore collective bargaining.
  • Nova Scotia’s teachers agreed to support the general strike over a 3% rollback in wages and benefits by the Liberals and a three-year salary freeze.
  • All police forces in the province outside of Halifax signed on to take part in a wide-scale walkout against the Liberal government.

“Collective bargaining has not been abolished,” Liberal Human Resources Minister Eleanor Norrie said in the legislature at the time. “Collective bargaining has been suspended.”

Nurses, public sector workers, teachers and cops would do well to remember those savage days in Nova Scotia. The Liberals flash left, but turn right, causing quite the spectacular crash.

Follow the Money

The Liberal Party of Nova Scotia is in a hurry for an election. Why so eager, one may wonder?  Part of the reason could be the province’s improving jobs numbers. But perhaps there is another reason. Perhaps there is some information that they wish to keep hidden until after an election.

Stephen McNeil had an opportunity to turn the page on the tainted Liberal trust fund. The Liberals even voted with an NDP resolution calling for all financial statements for the trust fund to be released by May 17th.

That deadline came and went, and the Liberals released a few pages, but all that could be learned from this lean offering was that the Liberals have spent $2.2 million setting up a think tank in Ottawa – thus avoiding Nova Scotia provincial laws.

Where are all the missing pages? Conservative MLA Chris d’Entremont continues to ask:

The information filed by the Liberal Party today is flimsy and contained very little that wasn’t public. The Liberals had a chance to be open and transparent about how the tainted trust funds are being used but failed.

Today’s filing did not include financial statements from the “For the Public Good Trust” or details about what the nature of the work the new institute, led by prominent Liberal supporters, would perform.

Stephen McNeil, in his first three years as leader, spent $1.2 million from funds that were raised from unknown sources in the 1970’s at a time when the Liberals illegally raised millions. Mr. McNeil had the chance to be transparent about how that money was spent but chose instead to cover it up.

According to a press release issued by the Conservatives, a new issue on the tainted trust funds has emerged. The vague objectives of the “think tank” suggest it could be used for polling or contacting likely Liberal voters during an election period – a sneaky use of these ill-gotten gains.

For this reason, it is more important than ever to follow the money.

Manning MacDonald’s Florida Office

Stephen McNeil is wrong to defend vacations during the sessions of the Legislature.

Stephen McNeil is wrong to defend vacations during the sessions of the Legislature.

One of the most amusing Google searches to land a reader on The Bee’s pages was “Manning MacDonald’s Florida Office”.

As the Conservatives have pointed out, the April vacation Liberal MLA Manning MacDonald took during the Legislature’s spring session was not his first disappearance:

McNeil looked the other way last year as Manning MacDonald, the Liberal MLA for Cape Breton South, took a month-long vacation during the legislative sitting in April 2012. The first time MacDonald appears in the House records was May 3rd, despite the fact that the Legislative sitting began March 29th. – Conservative press release

Will the Auditor General review the number of days Manning MacDonald went on vacation each year?

Will Stephen McNeil return the taxpayer money the Liberal Caucus earned during these vacations from the Legislature?

Will a reporter check with Manning MacDonald’s employee Derek Mombourquette to see if the Cape Breton South constituency office was closed during this time?

Jamie Baillie: Why was it ok with Mr. McNeil in April 2012 and again in April 2013 for a member of his caucus to take extended vacations during the Legislative session? No leader should stand by while an MLA misses two key sittings.

Keith Colwell has it all wrong

No, we’re not writing about the off-the-ice incident with Percy Paris. We’ll leave that discussion with the referees and race-relations pundits.

The important point is this: in a week in which Stats Canada recorded Nova Scotia as the only province with three consecutive months of job creation Colwell was trying to lecture the government on how economic development works:

Keith Colwell: The Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism touted that Theriault Shipyard got a whole $20,000 to really help their operation. Now, $20,000 is great, and that’s a very solid, good, long-standing company in Nova Scotia, but Irving gets $300 million? There’s something wrong with this whole picture here – $300 million (for a $25 billion contract).

It’s like comparing Mars to Jupiter.

Keith Colwell: So $300 million that Irving could have done by themselves; they could have done it without the $300 million.

You don't spot the other team 20 points on a $25 billion contract.

You don’t spot the other team 20 points on a $25 billion contract.

But would they have? Could they have? Someone should really ask Jim Irving.
Or ask the federal bureaucrats who administered the national shipbuilding procurement strategy. Ask them whether or not bids required a provincial guarantee to protect the federal government from unwanted liabilities?
Or see here

Keith Colwell: People are starting to realize that there are going to be very few jobs from this.

“Very few jobs”  is Colwell logic.  As if a “few” workers are going to build a bunch of 21st -Century combat ships for Canada’s navy? It’s ridiculous stuff to be putting on the record in Hansard.

The key to the Ships contract, like the ships to be built, is scale. Large industrial projects drive economic growth because they are big. Lots of ships built, lots of jobs, lots of consumer spending,  lots of tax revenue, lots of houses built, lots of cars purchased, etc. Big projects encourage the small, spin-off, local business development. In the Ships context, there’s even a word for it: supply chain.

The Liberal logic is twisted: they are in favour of small companies operating in the supply chain, but against the company that’s at the end of the supply chain paying the bills?  It makes you dizzy.

The Ships opportunity is real. Missing it is not an option. Would the Liberals scrap the loan agreement and sacrifice those 10,000+ jobs and the $25 billion dollar contract?