- “Around the House” will be a regular feature on the blog, generally serving as a catch-all for all sorts of random stories, unorganized thoughts, and items that don’t quite merit a full post. It’ll run on weekdays at least every other day. I promise these blog posts will become more regular once I settle down and get a paying job.
- As some of you may be aware, Nova Scotia is having an election. The latest polling numbers do not look good for the governing Tories. If an election were held today, far from forming government again, Rodney MacDonald’s PCs would be fighting for official opposition status with the Liberals, a practical non-entity in Nova Scotia politics since 1999. MacDonald’s government has been foundering in the polls since its election in 2006 over a number of serious cabinet gaffes and has lost two points since March. Darrel Dexter seems on pace to form Atlantic Canada’s first NDP government, albeit a minority one. More on the Nova Scotia election this weekend.
- The abortion debate, like a bad movie franchise, is back in New Brunswick with another sequel. Last week, Health Minister Mike Murphy told an anti-abortion rally that he was “not entirely” comfortable enforcing abortion laws, saying he believed life began at conception. Those laws, which only have Medicare (read: the taxpayer) cover the cost of a hospital abortion if two doctors deem it “medically necessary” will likely be challenged in court soon by Dr. Henry Morgentaler after being granted standing on the matter by the Court of Appeal. Now, the province will want to take its argument, that only a challenge from a woman treated at Morgentaler’s clinic is acceptable, to the Supreme Court, but I doubt they’d even hear the case. They dealt with this issue of a doctor’s standing in abortion cases during Morgentaler’s lengthy challenge of federal abortion laws in the 1980s.
- Buried deep in the financial pages this week are the latest inflation figures. While I, like most people, find these stats drier than a pub with no beer, they paint a very real and harsh picture for New Brunswick. Our inflation rate dropped 0.5% in the last month and, while it’s one of the smallest drops in the nation, it puts our inflation rate at -0.3%. Economists call this deflation – in plain English, it’s when demand falls below supply. Less demand generally mean bad things for employers and, by extension, employees. With falling lobster prices, an ever-shrinking forestry industry, and doubt starting to develop over the Saint John energy hub (supposedly New Brunswick’s economic savior), stay tuned.
“This is one of those stories, Sandi, that it doesn’t matter what we say on this show… nothing can be as funny as somebody claiming the cost of cleaning their moat.”- Fred MacAuley, Scottish comedian, talking about the British Parliamentary expenses scandal on The News Quiz, BBC Radio 4, 15 May 2009. The scandal involves MPs of most parties exploiting loopholes in expenses rules for personal property, such as home renovation and garden fertilizer to a duck island and, yes, a moat cleaning. Speaker of the House Michael Martin has announced his intention to resign next month over his handling of the issue. I’ll have more on this over the weekend.
- In Focus: Tim Andrews, former head of Australia’s Young Liberals, has gotten him and his party in hot water this week over a number of racy photos devised to attract young men to the party. Apparently, Aussies are turned on by Atlas Shrugged.