And so it begins. The last session of the legislature before the September election.
While it won’t receive much attention in the media, the NDP have to believe that balancing the budget in such troubling economic times will have a positive affect on voters’ opinion of Darrell Dexter and his government. Gaining slightly in the last opinion poll, the NDP hope to close the gap a few more points before the writ is dropped. The NDP have stuck to their 4 year plan to get back to balance, and Nova Scotia’s economic prospects continue to brighten.
At the start of last fall’s session, Stephen McNeil pledged to clearly explain Liberal policies for journalists, saying they would “lay out their vision and plan.” So what, dear readers, is their plan and vision? Do you know?
We know McNeil’s Liberals are against helping IBM and Projex move jobs here. But what are they for?
We know they are against the NDP’s highly successful Collaborative Emergency Centres. But what are they for?
We know they are against reducing the HST by one point in 2014 and another point in 2015. But what are they for?
Expect the Liberals to continue to give Nova Scotians no answers. Their strategy is to lie in wait, run commercials, and say as little as possible. Journalists are the only ones who can demand answers from Stephen McNeil, but so far members of the press gallery have been reluctant to ask any questions. Questions such as: why are the Liberals against job creation investments, and what would they do instead? Why are the Liberals against Collaborative Emergency Centres, and what would they do instead? Why are the Liberals against reducing the HST, and what would they do instead? Alas, we may never know.
The Conservatives will continue to try to introduce Jamie Baillie to Nova Scotians, and preach their gospel of balanced budgets, lower taxes and program cuts. It’s a strategy that has worked well for them before. The Liberals provide weak leadership, and make such terrible decisions when in power, that a promise of strong fiscal discipline sways many a voter outside of the capital. The problem for Baillie is that the NDP are poised to deliver a balanced budget – a significant feat only one other province (Saskatchewan) is likely to match.
The Spring Session is always dominated by the budget. But the NDP, which has more than their share of policy wonks, also likes to talk vision. That is why they do Throne Speeches, which the two older parties hate. They hate them because it shines a light on the fact the opposition do not have any fresh ideas. And it drives them nuts having to confront, yet again, a party that shop-talks on the floor of the House.
Legislation you should expect to see:
– help for at-risk seniors
– help for at-risk children
– help for at-risk puppies and kittens
– a significant step forward for municipalities to provide services
– changes to improve consumer protection
Enjoy the session. Keep on sending in your tips.