The election and the crisis of Nova Scotia

May 2006, Volume 11, Number One

HALIFAX (24 May 2006) -- ON MAY 13, premier Rodney MacDonald called a provincial election to be held on June 13, a 30-day campaign. Along with the Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic parties, a Green Party is fielding a full slate of 52 candidates.

Since the 1867 Confederation, Nova Scotia has been one of the poorest provinces in Canada. Its economy today is characterized by declining production, unemployment, out-migration from rural and fishing communities and from the province, falling population growth, and increasing homelessness and poverty, including child poverty growing faster than any other province.

The Michelin, Stora Enso and Offshore Oil arrangemnents illustrate that everything is said and done to satiate the dictate of a handful of monopoly and multinational molochs who do not care how many Nova Scotians they step on in their violent struggle for control of world markets and resources.

In the political sphere, this is reflected in the drive for annexation, embodied in the tripartite agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada signed on 23 March 2005. This has serious ramifications in all spheres of life - transportation, ports and shipping lanes and infrastructure, the environment and degradation of the sea bed, resources, science, healthcare, as well as municipal regulations, civil liberties, labour legislation, the rights of minorities and the Mi'kmaq First Nations, etc.

In the military sphere, it is embodied in the NORAD renewal through which the Canadian Forces come under US Northern Command; the deployment of young Canadians to fight in US wars of annexation in Afghanistan, Haiti, and even Iraq; the intensified recruiting of unemployed youth from the poorest regions such as Atlantic Canada; and the creation of a war psychosis under the pretext of the fight against 'terrorism.'

As reflected in the voting rate, Nova Scotians are dissatisfied with the electoral process. The electorate of course will have to decide where these parties fit in, with the past or the future, whether the solutions they champion are immediate or more of a distant future, and whether or not to take the election as the occasion to actively champion the interests of their collectives.

For our part, we have two observations. The triumvirate of parties is united on fundamental questions: [1] The form, that is the method of solving the crisis; [2] The content of the solution. They do not want any basic change in the form and content. They insist that they be the decision-makers and that the only role of Nova Scotians is consultative - if that.

In our view, as long as Nova Scotians do not have the right and means to be masters in our own house, to decide for ourselves our immediate and long-term solutions, the crisis of Nova Scotia will deepen. This is the central question facing Nova Scotians - finding the ways to put the politics of responsibility to the society and the nation in the first place in place of party politics.

For this, deep-going electoral reforms are also long overdue. Nova Scotians must have the right to elect and select candidates, and all candidates must have the same rights, free from media intervention. Such a reform is long overdue.

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