Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Could Dexter learn from Thatcher?

This caught our eye:

As the privatization of state-owned industries proceeded, and unemployment temporarily rose to one million, then two, and finally three-million (before sharply declining), the London County Council, dominated by Marxists, was almost screaming for her blood. Mrs. Thatcher replied by abolishing the municipal government, put one of the greatest cities in the world under direct rule from the Home Office, sold the London government headquarters, County Hall, the largest building in the country, to Japanese developers to be turned into an aquarium, and London enjoyed better municipal administration. [read the rest]

All of NS isn’t as big as the London Municipality. Some amalgamation is going to be needed – school Boards, Municipalities. Has Dexter got the balls courage?

Signs of the times

Students are marching in support of deficits.

Nice signs. Not cheap.

There was a protest in Wolfville also. [Anyone got pics?]

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is the umbrella organizer, providing signs and materials for Wolfville organizers to use

[Although Acadia is not a member of CFS but of CASA.]

From an article in the Athenaeum:

Currently, Nova Scotia Universities are experiencing a “tuition freeze,” where tuition costs have remained the same for the past three years. However, government has had to supplement the costs incurred. It still cost more to go to school in 2010 than in 2007, it is just that the government fronts the costs instead of the students – at roughly $30 million dollars annually under the freeze. In addition, many of the students who attend university in Nova Scotia leave the province after receiving a degree. This does not bode well for the government, as they are subsidizing the education of someone who is statistically expected not to contribute back to the local economy.

What we noticed from the Province’s announcement:

From 2004 until 2010, funding for universities has increased from $212 million to $349 million or 65 per cent.

65% in 6 years! Why? CPI was less than 3% per year. Unsustainable do you think?

Anyway, it’s user pay or everyone pays.

 

 

Disclosure

Sometimes there are so many things to comment on one doesn’t know where to start or what to put on the top of the list. But today there is no question. This announcement cries out for attention.

Taxpayers will learn who’s making at least $100,000 at school boards, health authorities, Crown corpora­tions and other public-sector bodies, Finance Minis­ter Graham Steele said Friday.

Steele said the Public Sector Compensation Dis­closure Act, which he introduced at Province House, will give people more information about where their money is going. … Steele said Ontario, Manitoba and British Colum­bia have similar legislation but different compensa­tion thresholds. It’s $100,000 in Ontario, $50,000 in Manitoba and $75,000 in B.C.

Long overdue, we say, but that is not the shocker. The next line was what floored us.

Nova Scotia already discloses the salaries of civil servants making at least $25,000.

They do?   Where? Who knew? AND why, then oh why, did it take a FOIPOP application and all kinds of lawyers fees spent to disclose the Wolfville CAO’s salary package?

Campus Clubs

Anyone interested in starting an Atlantica Party organization on the Acadia campus? This message from the AP.

Campus Clubs

For those of you returning to campus AP is establishing campus clubs across the province. Dalhousie-Kings and CBU have been established and can be reached here

atlanticansdal@atlanticaparty.ca

atlanticanscbu@atlanticaparty.ca

Here’s some comment on the business climate in NS on the AP blog.

If you were to ask any member of the government whether Nova Scotia is business friendly you would get a resounding yes. The NDP government is certainly seems aggressive with ready cash for established profitable businesses in splashy media releases; Frito-Lay, Daewoo, Bell Aliant, Blue Ocean, Northern Pulp, Irving, the list goes on and on.

Strange then in a recent study from the Fraser Institute Nova Scotia ranked at the bottom (57th out of 60) in North America in terms of economic freedom; the ability of people to make their own economic decisions which is key to prosperity. Are Nova Scotians that constrained?

Just ask Mr. Gee, the Kentville merchant who has spent $20,000 of his own (after tax) money fighting our NDP government that wants to interfere in his tobacco trade. As of July 1st Mr. Gee is forced to charge additional sales taxes on the sundries he sells. He must pay the second highest income taxes in Canada. He has no choice but to accept Nova Scotia Power’s proposed rate hike, its seventh recent rate hike. He and his customer s are forced to buy over-priced produce from the government monopoly NSLC.

Can it be true? Our NDP government, while ensuring its continued growth at the expense of the private sector and making some media savvy demonstrations of ‘building the economy’ through subsidy, is vision-less to help Nova Scotians to become more economically free and prosperous? I wonder what Mr. Gee would say?

Batten down the hatches

UPDATE: From AccuWeather;

I see Environment Canada is going with tropical storm warnings for all of the south coast of Nova Scotia. Even with the ideas that I wrote above, I would still have hurricane warnings for the south facing coast of Nova Scotia.

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Is this a good idea?

Council is considering allowing longer liquor hours in Wolfville. Liquor hours are included in the MPS [Why?] and so that would have to be amended. Closing  hour in Wolfville is 1 am while elsewhere closing hour for drinking “establishments” is 2 am.The town wants input from “stakeholders” .

Mayor Bob Stead indicates council has decided to solicit feedback from as many as a dozen stakeholders: core area residents, lounge owners, Acadia University and the Wolfville Business Development Corporation. These groups have been asked to provide input by Oct. 1.

Morrison anticipates council will review that input and then decide on what action, if any, to take: do nothing, opt to allow later closing hours Friday and Saturday nights or even abandon control of liquor hours.

Increased late night noise, disruption of residents and additional policing costs are among the other factors for council to consider. [Register]

Better get your two cents in. As far as noise and disruption goes we figure it can’t get much worse than it already is. Or could it? In any case, closing hour doesn’t probably make that much difference.

Get your card ready

You will need an ID card no matter what your age at the Wolfville ( and some other) NSLC outlets in the next week or so.

Between Sept. 5 and 11, Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. outlets in New Minas, Wolfville and Antigonish will ask for ID from every customer — whether they look like a post-secondary pupil or a pensioner.

The three communities were chosen for the pilot awareness campaign, which coincides with frosh week, based on their high concentration of university students. [CBC]

Ahhh. A nice reminder that the student year is about to begin. But what about HRM?

“The campaign is designed to be fun, really,” she said. “Everybody gets to feel young again because we’re going to ID everyone.”

You know , I think it will take more than that for some of us.

Affordable housing

It is said that the Town Administration wants to encourage affordable housing in the Town . It would seem then that the Town would follow policies which would lead to that.

The farm fight is not immaterial to this issue. Why is farmland even considered for development when there is housing available in Wolfville and other towns around? There are many houses for sale here in Wolfville. Why is there pressure to build in Greenwich and Port Williams?

Because it is expensive to live in Wolfville. Land is more expensive and taxes are higher. Those who are buying (or building) a house know that and look elsewhere. Buyers also avoid the high deed transfer taxes that towns often impose. This increases the pressure for land outside of Town limits.

What would be the result of taking all land suitable for farming in the province completely off the development map for good, whether presently used for farming or not, via legislation? The amount of land available for building would decrease dramatically, the price of land where building was allowed would increase accordingly. Housing would be less affordable even though incomes are no higher. Even rents would go up.

Is this what we want? Think carefully about who would benefit.

Can the province (ie. present and future taxpayers) afford to compensate farmers for their land (since they can’t make a living off of it but can’t sell it either)  and then subsidise housing for those who cannot afford it? What policies could the province put in place which would make farming more profitable, creating employment in the industry and of the land instead of unemployment?

There should be a win/win solution somewhere (there usually is)  but we have a feeling no one is looking for one. Everyone is too  attached and passionate about their own position.

A fishy story

Those of you who get the Globe and Mail or follow it online may have seen one of the Ian Brown Eats Canada series on his visit to Nova Scotia. Titled A Day without Lobster, this casually written post highlights a number of culinary and other delights in our part of the world but was sure to baffle the locals who read it.

First of all there is the “5 hours in the air” detail about his flight from Vancouver. Isn’t it closer to 7?   And then there was the rather unflattering story of Greg who jollied him up at the bar. This has to do with food, how? Oh, yes, he was an ex-chef who used to make $100K a year before he started using drugs.

Then it gets closer to home because Janice Ruddock, executive director of Taste of Nova Scotia, is going to take him to “a winery” but not before our hapless reporter has trouble finding his way [ Yes, it's true, signage for the tourist in NS sucks.] But Ian ends up following his guide to the Valley for a stop first at the Tangled Garden.

The owner, Beverley McClare, was away. John Walford, her stepson, an former actor turned documentary maker visiting from London, was behind the counter. Ms. McClare, who is now in her early fifties, set up shop 24 years ago with Mr. Walford’s English father, George: She was his third wife, and they were married for 20 years. “He liked them young, my dad,” Mr. Walford said. Walford père is 70 now, and on wife number five. Walford mère, John’s birth mother, has been married four times herself.

We are pretty wild here at Ww but we wouldn’t have gone there in print. At least his description of the products and gardens were complimentary.

There follows a few paragraphs on the economics of lobstering which he concludes by saying:

Insiders will tell you that you can find cocaine at a moment’s notice in towns with big lobster fleets – Digby, Yarmouth, even Sydney on Cape Breton.

Drugs again, unlike Toronto and Vancouver which don’t have lobster fleets. We think maybe he could have found a nicer way of saying lobstermen make good money?

Next Ian was treated to lunch at “Domaine de Grand Pré, the province’s oldest winery.” Really?  Certainly not under that name. It should probably read “which claims to be the province’s oldest winery.” We think others have a longer history in the wine growing business, Jost for example. And in this locale  Dr. Morse learned from someone; his contribution also, before Dial’s, goes unmentioned. But perhaps the “fact” is based on a technicality.

So then Ian had high octane iced tea at the Tin Pan Bakery in Port Williams, bought some heavenly Havarti at Fox Hill Cheese House, and some home brew at The Port Pub. So far so good, at least he didn’t stumble onto a grow-op so he could introduce the drug theme again. But another puzzler came at the end of the piece.

I ate at the Midtown Tavern on Grafton Street, a 61-year-old Halifax restaurant famous with locals for speedy service and steady fare. Doug Grant, the original proprietor, still owns it with his sons Eric and Rob and their new partner, bartender Scott Rozee, who recently persuaded them to add a startling innovation to the menu: desserts.

He might have mentioned that this had to be the new Boomers location as the original, historic, 61 year old, iconic Midtown was torn down in March.

Arrested not charged

It’s all over the news. Four and a half years later there has been an arrest in the Paula Gallant murder.

On Tuesday morning, police arrested Jason Wayne MacRae, 37, the husband of Timberlea schoolteacher Paula Gallant, who was killed on Dec. 27, 2005. … [CH]

As yet there is no charge.  It doesn’t always follow.

MacRae was previously arrested in February 2006 and questioned for several hours but was released without being charged.

But perhaps this latest arrest in the Gallant case will result in a charge that will stick.

The two sisters worked tirelessly to rally community support to solve the killing and to improve victims’ rights in Nova Scotia, especially to allow more access to counselling. Many area residents took part in memorial events for Gallant, marched to protest violence against women and put bumper stickers on their cars to keep the case in the public eye.

Is that what is required for a result, even if it is several years later? We wonder if there ever will be a charge as a result of the investigation into the Leslie Conrad murder.