The Liberals’ Budget Promises Lots of Cheques But Avoids Tough Questions

This week’s federal budget filled 464 pages. By comparison, Bill Morneau’s first budget in 2016 only needed a skimpy 271. Some of the topics covered:

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All Four Climate Change Policies Are Out Of Touch With Reality

Comparing the climate change policies of the federal parties is a depressing experience. Let’s start with the Liberals, looking first at their performance to date.
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Another Bad Day for Electricity Customers in Nova Scotia

The energy from Muskrat Falls is not going to be available until at least 2020. But the transmission lines are all built at a cost exceeding $1.5 billion. You are going to pay the interest on that debt while we wait.

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The Ferry Saga Shows How Not To Manage A Transportation Project

The government’s management of the Yarmouth Ferry has been a fiasco. We should worry about what this says about other projects.

In August last year, Bay Ferries, operator of the ferry, reported that it was meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) representatives to discuss requirements and costs associated with potentially starting up ferry service to Bar Harbor, Maine, instead of Portland, Maine, which has been the service used for the most recent three years.
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An Ugly Campaign Grinds Its Way To A Conclusion

As noted in this space two weeks ago, the electorate in 2015 wanted a change from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Initially, it looked like Tom Mulcair’s NDP might be the beneficiary.

But the Liberals tacked to the left of them, promising to run declining deficits for four years while the NDP had promised fiscal responsibility. A commitment that 2015 would be the last vote using first-past-the-post was attractive to progressive voters. Promises like those, and Trudeau’s energetic and engaging style, turned the tide and the Liberals won 184 out of 338 seats.

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Electronic Health Records—Little Has Been Spent, and Little Has Been Achieved

The idea that a health care system should have electronic records of tests and procedures for each patient is extremely attractive.

The path of those who pursue the dream is littered with disappointment and delay, but there are important successes.
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The Americans Have a Real Problem on Their Southern Border. So Could We.

Donald Trump’s efforts to constrain the flow of asylum seekers at America’s southern border are cruel, racist, and ineffective. The polarizing nature of his tactics obscures the reality of the underlying issue.
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Can The Government And The Teachers Union Get Along?

In 2015, the Liberal government issued an ambitious plan for improving our schools. Of particular importance were the recommendations for changes to be negotiated with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU). There have been many bends in the road since then.
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The Teachers’ Plan Deficit Needs to be Addressed

The government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union are doing a disservice to taxpayers and today’s teachers, who are paying for the inadequacy of past contributions by and for the teachers that retired long ago.

In contrast, the public-sector pension plans for civil service and health care workers are well-funded and can be expected to keep their promises to pensioners over the long term.

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The Football Stadium is Going To Cost Taxpayers a Lot

The football stadium proposed for Shannon Park is said to need a subsidy of $10-$11 million per year. It would be much higher.

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Transit Choices

A study of the possibilities for commuter rail is underway. It looks expensive. That is not the only option that should be considered. Read More »