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  • Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission August 6, 2019
    From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest. This report looks at the evolution […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Correcting the Record July 26, 2019
    Earlier this week Kris Sims and Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun. The opinion piece makes several false claims and connections regarding the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), which we would like to correct. The […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Rental Wage in Canada July 18, 2019
    Our new report maps rental affordability in neighbourhoods across Canada by calculating the “rental wage,” which is the hourly wage needed to afford an average apartment without spending more than 30% of one’s earnings.  Across all of Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada July 9, 2019
    CCPA senior economist David Macdonald co-authored a new report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada­—released by Upstream Institute in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)—tracks child poverty rates using Census 2006, the 2011 National Household Survey and Census 2016. The report is available for […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Fossil-Power Top 50 launched July 3, 2019
    What do Suncor, Encana, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Fraser Institute and 46 other companies and organizations have in common? They are among the entities that make up the most influential fossil fuel industry players in Canada. Today, the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP) is drawing attention to these powerful corporations and organizations with the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Back to Balance in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia provincial government is set to introduce its promised balanced budget this year. The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget, released today, proposes some concrete choices rooted in Nova Scotia communities. Rather than pay down debt, the NS-APB prioritizes balancing the social debt threatening Nova Scotia.

Can a budget really be considered balanced when unemployment is 9.3%, and 47,000 Nova Scotians are ready, willing, and actively looking for work that isn’t there?

The recent recession hit some parts of Canada harder than others, and Nova Scotia is still feeling the effects. The Nova Scotia economy has picked up jobs since 2008, but all of them are part-time. The proportion of the population that’s employed hasn’t changed a huge amount (down 0.4% since 2008), but there are more people participating in the labour force which results in a stubbornly high unemployment rate. Regional disparities in unemployment mean that rural communities are suffering from high rates of unemployment, and from an exodus of young families.

Household debt is at an unprecedented high, with Canadian families owing $1.65 for every $1 dollar of income.

The annual cost of poverty to Nova Scotia is $2.3 billion dollars, with over $600 million of that in direct costs to the provincial government.

At the same time, despite overwhelming agreement that the Canadian labour market remains quite weak outside of Alberta & Saskatchewan, the federal government is demonizing the unemployed, and cutting social programs and public services.

On the other hand, Nova Scota’s debt-to-GDP ratio has fallen from 49% in 2000 to 35% in 2011.  The cost of servicing government debt has fallen from 20% of government expenditures in 2002, to just over 9%, thanks partly to the low cost of borrowing over the past few years.

So it shouldn’t be radical to suggest that the provincial government refocus its energies on building Nova Scotia communities – literally.  The NS Alternative Budget proposes a broad range of affordable housing initiatives. These proposals put Nova Scotians to work, and provide cost-effective, humane solutions to current housing issues.

The NS-APB suggests the need for a Women’s Equality Action plan (unlike Flaherty’s Action! plans, I have a feeling they mean something deeper than a slick PR campaign). In the meantime, the NS-APB invests in community supports for women, addresses workplace harassment, and provides significant funding levels for training women in non-traditional sectors. In sectors where there are future skills shortages, we should be doing everything that we can to ensure the full participation of talented persons, reaching out to women, First Nations, New Canadians, and persons with disabilities.

An alternative budget is many things, but mostly it is a document to show that there is more than one way to prioritize government spending. The proposals that are laid out are fully costed, well thought through policy options, that meet the needs of Nova Scotians and build the communities that we want to live and work in. I recommend that you read it, share it with your friends, debate about elements that you like or don’t like. Bring  it up with your elected representatives. Build connections, build communities, build a better Nova Scotia. Never let them tell you it can’t be done.

 

Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from Sarah
Time: March 25, 2013, 3:51 pm

I am concerned about a figure like 2.3 billion to care for the poor when the population is around a million total. That figure alone if distributed equally per person for the hell of it, well there would be no poor in the province with everyone having an income of $23,000.00. Add up all the rest of the provinces social funding and include it…I bet each of us could afford our own healthcare if the government regulated the charges. That would be funding well spent.

Comment from Angella MacEwen
Time: March 26, 2013, 6:22 am

The $2.3 billion number includes direct costs, such as higher health care costs, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity. It isn’t the amount that we spend on combating poverty. Here is the paper on the Cost of Poverty in Nova Scotia: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/%E2%80%89cost%E2%80%89%E2%80%89poverty%E2%80%89-nova%E2%80%89scotia

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