The big political news this week is the drop in support for the governing Nova Scotia Liberal Party. The poll issued by Corporate Research Associates this week puts support for the Liberals at 44%. That is virtually the same level of support the party enjoyed immediately following the 2013 election campaign. At the same point in their mandate the NDP were in the area of 30 to 33% approval.
In 2013 the Liberals were elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility, investments in education and health and a pledge to grow the economy. Soon after the Liberals were elected the government unions made it their mission to make life uncomfortable for the new government. Unions resisted any change the government tried unless it involved more money for them. The government laid out the fiscal reality we faced and has stuck to it’s fiscal plan and seems sure to bring down a balanced budget this year.
At the same time the Ivany Commission report was received by the government calling for bold changes. Now or Never spelled out the dilemma we face, change and quickly or we are destined to be a failed state within a prosperous western country – the Detroit of Canadian provinces. Of course Ivany is right but that does not sit well in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotian’s want change as long as it does not affect them,everything needs to change but only for someone else. It is the NIMBY syndrome writ large across our society. We want more expenditure on highways, hospitals, infrastructure, social services and the arts but nobody wants to pay more tax, tolls or user fees.
We could not place a more ridiculous burden on our government than our current situation dictates.
The current drop in Liberal support is generally attributed to the recent contract negotiations with teachers. The teachers did not raise “conditions” with the NDP government when they got a 7-1/2% raise. This became the issue only because they came to realize the government would not alter the fiscal envelope the contract would be bound by. The teachers are “outraged” and “disrespected” even though three different contracts were recommended by their union before the government had enough.
The teachers are a privileged profession, with vast union resources and generous pay and pensions. Their jobs are no more important than many in this province and not even in the top ten of tough jobs.
If you want to see a microcosm of what is wrong in Nova Scotia, the teachers job action and the failure of many Nova Scotian’s to see it in the fuller context of moving this province forward is all the illustration you need.