Going against the grain

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Kudos to Opposition leader Darrell Dexter and the NDP for stepping up and choosing to vote against the 2008-2009 Nova Scotia budget.
While many headlines went to the third-party status Liberals as they pranced in Cumberland County's backyard that the Rodney MacDonald Tories were not doing enough to make Nova Scotia competitive with its New Brunswick neighbours and a four cent difference in provincial gas taxes was sending business over the border, Liberal leader Stephen McNeil still chose to side with the government, citing modified Liberal initiatives within the budget as too good to give up.
The NDP, however, have been rather mum in the area up until now. When Dexter finally did open his mouth he put forward an argument based more on facts rather than initiatives, ideas or wants: the cost of living is going up, the cost of gas is going up, the cost of food is going up. Why, then, support, an eight per cent tax increase?
The removal of an energy rebate -- equivalent to the eight per cent portion of the HST -- for electricity that isn't used for heat will save the province $28 million, we're told. To look at the statement more closely, and to change the terms "save" with "give back," the province will not give back $28 million to Nova Scotians in rebates towards the cost of living. Top that with the extra tax on gasoline which translates into added costs on food and living then it becomes evident this no frills budget comes up short for the working-class.
A fair budget isn't one that introduces tax cuts requiring government to rob Peter to pay Paul but it isn't one that takes away from the people also. With the Premier getting what he wants and the Liberals getting a bit of what they want it's clear the NDP were the only ones who remembered this.
With the Liberals on board the 2008-2009 budget will squeak by, bringing on a lackluster year for Nova Scotians and salaried workers hit hard at the pumps and put by the wayside as the cost of minimum wage and living goes up while their income refuses to falter. It will be a rough year for many, especially when the winter approaches and the cost of home furnace oil jumps up like its gasoline and diesel kin.
Maybe then we'll see some real action.

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Cumberland County, New Brunswick

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