Bye-bye Rodney; don’t let the door hit your ass on the way through!
Wouldn’t you know that as soon as Rodney Dangerfield’s government finally collapsed under the weight of it’s incompetence and there’s something interesting and local worth blogging extensively about, I enter into pre-survey mode and become busier than ever. Gaaaaa! Life is like that sometimes.
For what it’s worth, an anecdote. Owing to the fact that I’m going on a boat for a couple of months, I voted early last night. While waiting for Doug to cast his ballot, I was chatting with the matronly local who always seems to be employed at these balloting offices and I asked her what the write-in turnout was like. “Here”, she said, “it was so-so, a hundred or so. But provincially it’s waaaayyy up from the last election.”
Does that indicate a higher-than-pathetic turnout for this election? Does it indicate increased interest in the result? Usually, a high turnout is not good news for the incumbant, and I have to think that it’s the case here.
The fact that the only useful act performed by this government was to say “no” to the Commonwealth Games a few years ago (after letting the local Games committee fleece us for some fourteen large) and that he’s limited his campaign to empty promises to fine parents for the bad deeds of their kids (the Get Off My Lawn campaign plan of John McCain), he’s dead.
The NDP were essentially handed this election on a platter, and they’re running a classic leader’s campaign – cautious and deliberate, making no mistakes. However the Liberals are rejuvenated under their new leader and their support outside of the NDP bastion of Metro is growing quickly – areas where the electorate may well swing to them rather than the NDP.
The results are going to be interesting – the Conservatives’ greatest fear was obviously a surge of support for the Liberals, and that’s what they’re seeing. How will the results split? Will the “left” of the province (such as it is) perform the classic split between the Liberals and NDP or will the alergic-to-real-change voters in the province cut their votes between Liberals and Conservatives and let the NDP up the middle? I don’t think there’s enough support for the Liberals in Metro (this time) to give them a real shot at even a minority, leaving the only real options in my mind being a smaller Conservative minority or an NDP win, a larger minority or even a narrow majority. That said, the NDP have made moderate gains outside HRM, but it’s likely that a large part of those gains were traditional Liberal voters loaning their votes while their party was being lead by toothless befuddled idiots.
An interesting campaign, which I will watch with great interest from offshore.
Before yesterday’s first campaign debate, the Chronicle Herald released the results of Corporate Research Associates most recent quarterly political poll. This might well be the only poll we see during the Nova Scotia 2009 election campaign, so we should take note of the results. On voting intention, the result breakdown is this:
- NDP – 37%
- Lib – 31%
- PC – 28%
- Green – 3%
- Other – 1%
There is little doubt now that Rodney MacDonald was right – it’s a two party race, unfortunately for him, his party is fading from the scene. Doubtless, the fact that the NDP are stronger in urban ridings rather than the overly-represented rural ones will produce a tighter seat total than the popular vote spread indicates, but the news is good for the provinical NDP and Liberals, who seem to be finally building under their new leader.
However, CRA did a curious thing with the undecided component of the vote – they combined it with the “don’t know”, “refused to answer”, and (shameful) “won’t vote” component of the vote, which together comprised 30% of the poll sample. The curious thing about this is that they did not in fact lump all of these groups together in the poll, only in the press release. If you go to their website you will see that in fact only 17% of the poll sample is truly undecided.
Why would they do this? Would they do this because CRA would like to inflate the undecided vote to make the race seem tighter than it is? Hell, if 30% of the electorate is undecided, it’s anybody’s race, right?
Those would be the words of Premier Rodney Dangerfield MacDonald, and they are words that would possibly be deserving of some respect if they didn’t come from a man who had delayed the budget until May amid an economic crisis in fear for his pay cheque. But they don’t and he doesn’t, and it’s about time that we kicked his ass to the curb, or to whatever posting his boss Stephen has lined up for him for being a good little brown bluenosed soldier.
Anyone out there have a count on the number of days these clowns sat in session over the past three years?
…but the local media makes my life difficult.
I’ve checked every story written recently on the meat-headed idea by the Province to buy 66 kid-sized ATVs. I wanted to see a) who bought them (which was pretty easy: it’s coming out of the Health Promotion Budget, headed by Barry Barnet) and b) who they were bought from.
Part b) is proving to be a difficult question to answer. We know who manufactured them, but not which dealerships they were purchased through. 19 of the ATVs are Bombardier, 18 are Suzuki, 18 are Honda, and 11 are Arctic Cat. That’s nice information to have, but I want to know who made money on this ridiculous idea. Did individual local dealers have any connections to Mr. Barnet? To Mr. MacDonald? This kind of stupid spending can usually be traced to someone (or a group) who has the “ear” of government, and I really want to know if that’s the case with the ATV purchase. Neither the Herald nor the Metro has asked or answered this question.
PS – the purchase does not appear on the NS Procurement website when I use the search term “ATV” (whereas several older ATV purchases do appear).
With much foofarah, a few weeks back, the Nova Scotia provincial government “signed” an agreement with the federal government to replace the previously pissed-on Atlantic Accord, which governed the relationship between offshore resource revenue and equalization payments. Why the inverted commas? Well, aside from the happy handshake between PM Harper and Premier MacDonald, we have learned nothing about the actual text of the agreement, so I feel some justification in my skepticism.
It appears that finally we will learn something more about the details – three weeks after the “signing”. It was announced this morning that Liberal MP Roger Cuzner and now-Independent MP (and most popular Nova Scotian) Bill Casey will get to meet with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Monday to discuss the agreement.
Maybe early next week I’ll learn why signing away money now in the hope that there will be more money in twelve years time is such a good idea. (Perhaps Premier MacDonald would prescribe to such a payment scheme for Nova Scotia premiers?)
Words about birds, hands, and bushes dance through my head…
Although I haven’t seen the actual text of the offshore deal made between the Diddler and the Harpocryte (has anyone?), I feel qualified to comment based on the news reports I’ve come across. Let me preface this by saying that every single report I’ve read has been awash in speculation. Either the press hasn’t seen the deal, or it’s so complicated that the various reporters don’t understand it/are unable to explain the terms in a few inches of newsprint.
Anywho, here are my impressions: It’s a good deal for Nova Scotia in the long term if we can trust future federal governments to honour the deal. In other words, it’s a bad deal. The Harpercryte himself has already shown that he can’t be trusted to honour provincial revenue-sharing agreements. That’s the whole reason why Casey voted against the budget, got kicked out of caucus, and forced the Diddler into sloth-like action. The current brand of Republicans did not honour an agreement signed by John Hamm (who?) and His Eeliness, Paul Martin. What makes anyone think that, should we suffer Conservative governments for the next 12 years, the Federal government won’t just go ahead and dishonour the new agreement come 2019, when the revenue sharing is supposed to begin favouring Nova Scotia? Will a new Liberal government honour a deal signed by two Conservative entities? I personally find it hard to trust politicians and lawyers for five minutes, let alone 12 years.
The other problem I have with the agreement is the notion that Nova Scotia will have any sort of meaningful oil and gas revenues come 2019. The Sable Project ran into a size problem (the two largest fields were smaller than anticipated), and will not last as long as originally hoped. Deep Panuke is likely only large enough to last for 7-9 years, so production there (assuming that project even goes ahead) will be in decline or finished come 2019. No substantial new fields have been found since Deep Panuke, and the industry hasn’t been exploring meaningfully for the past two years. Oil and gas is cyclic, but even so it’s a very bad sign when companies aren’t exploring your basin at today’s oil prices.
So really, unless exploration picks up and someone finds the fabled elephant in our offshore, a back-ended deal makes very little sense. Nova Scotia’s offshore revenues from Sable are peaking now, and really should be projected to peak again 3-4 years into the life of Deep Panuke. Banking on a long-term deal that wishes for sustained production until 2019 and beyond would probably make more sense for Newfoundland than Nova Scotia. I’m not sure who advised the Diddler on this deal, but whoever it was probably has a far more optimistic outlook for Nova Scotia’s offshore future than is currently warranted, or than is shared by the various companies who once explored here.
I’m interested in hearing other opinions. I ask: has anyone out there actually seen/understood the text of this agreement?