Richard Starr: “The theme of recent COVID-19 updates in Nova Scotia has been “opening up.” Opening up the economy and opening up society have been on the agenda. But opening up democracy – not so much. Indeed, the past week provided more evidence, if more is needed, of Premier McNeil’s disdain for the views of others.”

Richard Starr looks at premier Stephen McNeil’s governing style and sees a pattern: “McNeil needs a new raison d’être, and with remarkable dexterity he has found one with COVID-19, moving smartly from the manufactured fiscal crisis to the real crisis presented by the pandemic.”

Nova Scotia’s failure to adequately protect nursing home residents resulted in Canada’s third worst rate of death from COVID-19, writes Richard Starr, who wonders whether ageism is a factor in both government neglect of the long term care sector and how it’s being reported.

Policy analyst extraordinaire Richard Starr takes a close look at Liberal claims that the party is fully committed to affordable housing and is making a difference. “Not only is the National Housing Strategy many days late, its more than a few dollars short, perhaps even less effective in creating affordable housing than the Harper-era programs it’s replacing. ”

Richard Starr looks at Bill 72 and the arguments in favour of eliminating the regional school boards and finds they don’t hold much water. “To turn around now and inflict collateral damage on minority representation by getting rid of school boards (except CSAP) is reprehensible. At best, it says that minority representation on school boards was just tokenism, a politically correct initiative to be abandoned on a whim.”

Richard Starr takes a closer look at the updated provincial budget released last week. “As long as a balanced budget remains the political holy grail and the economy produces little revenue growth there will be intense pressure on public spending. Unless the Liberals can pull more accounting tricks out of a hat – or there is an unexpected windfall from the federal government – we are in for a very rough ride over the next four years,” Starr writes.