Tuesday, 21 November 2017

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.

Good letter by Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, on the Chamber of Commerce complaining about civil servants’ wages. “What is the Chamber’s position on secret government handouts to hand picked universities? What is the Chamber’s position on the fact the majority of Nova Scotia children live in poverty? The Chamber of Commerce supported tax cuts for business, when big businesses have been sitting on hordes of cash. Tax cuts were a promise as the solution to create jobs. These jobs never came.”

In this final part of our series on on the social determinants of health Alex Kronstein argues that a strong social safety net promotes health, but Canada, like so many other countries, has fallen victim to a neoliberal approach that’s all about “the financialization of everything.” Nonetheless, various Nova Scotia organizations continue to address the social determinants of health.

In a recent talk at a community meeting on welfare, Fiona Traynor, a community legal worker at Dalhousie Legal Aid raised the alarm about the state of income assistance in Nova Scotia. Cuts to allowances and an increase in poor bashing have her worried.

In that speech Traynor also called for a strategic push back against the Community Services welfare transformation initiative, something we are told will change the way income assistance is delivered, but that has otherwise been low on details. We talked with Traynor late last week to further explore these issues.

A group of people concerned about the quality of care in Nova Scotia’s long term residences rallied at Northwood Manor in Halifax this afternoon. More care beds, more trained staff and healthier food are among their demands. Ultimately they are asking for a halt to the ongoing loss of dignity and respect for our seniors.

Human rights lawyer Vince Calderhead tackles last month’ budget and the election. The realization that the inequality in our society is actually a political decision raises hard questions, he writes. These are questions not just for our political leaders but also for ourselves as members of a society that repeatedly select politicians who by their choices, maintain poverty and malnutrition. When are we, as a society, going to tell our political candidates and leaders that we will not tolerate poverty in our society?

More on the threat to rural Nova Scotia’s public libraries. They’re free. They’re for everybody. They’re the lifeblood of many communities. And they are slowly being squeezed by governments that don’t understand their value. But wait, it’s election time! Maybe it’s time for a good chat with your local candidates.