Around the House (Cleaning House edition)

  • This isn’t front page or exciting news, but Moody’s, a major international investment house, recently downgraded New Brunswick’s credit rating from AA3 to AA2 (thanks to David Cameron for the link). Now, while this in no way means that New Brunswick is near the infamous “junk” rating (that’s a B or lower), and while another investment firm, Standard and Poor’s, recently held their credit rating of the province firm at AA-, Moody’s move will mean the province will have to pay more interest on its debt (currently $8.2 billion, including this year’s deficity of around $700-million). That means less money for government services at a time when most departments are getting cut to the bone. The lower rating also means, so far as I can divine from the Forbes’ Investopedia website, is that firms may look at New Brunswick as a less attractive place to do business (PEI and Nova Scotia also have credit ratings of AA2, the latter earning that rating earlier this year), which could affect the Self-Sufficiency Agenda, this government’s raison d’être. Adding to the embarrassment is that New Brunswick is the first province in 12 years to have its credit rating fall, according to this Financial Post article. Incidentally, New Brunswick earned its AA3 credit rating in November 2006, two months after Shawn Graham took office.
  • The province’s ongoing dispute with its doctors long ago turned into another national embarrassment, but this Globe and Mail column by Andre Picard is the most concise and damning summary of the situation I’ve come across yet. Worth noting is the fact that Picard never once names current Health Minister Mary Schryer, whose only statement on the issue since taking over the portfolio was a rather flimsy newspaper column published on August 18th. The Medical Society’s court date, incidentally, is September 16.
  • UNB’s Saint John campus is getting it’s first CIS team – a track team. Those of you wondering why I’m writing this news on a political blog would be interested in knowing that the team would run out of its on-campus Canada Games Stadium and that the university, federal, and municipal governments have committed to funding desperately-needed renovations on the 24 year old facility. The provincial government, um, has not. Could this announcement be the university’s attempt to shame the government into ponying up the cash? Possibly. Don’t expect the issue of provincial university funding to go away soon, though – especially if contract negotiations with the university’s faculty turn sour.
  • And Mr. Doer goes, not into federal politics, but to Washington. Considering his past experience negotiating with the Philippines government and his reputation as a genuinely freindly guy, he’s an extremely inspired choice by Stephen Harper, although opponents of the PM and the soon-to-be-ex-Manitoba premier will be sure to question the timing of this appointment and Doer’s departure from elected office.

  • As a site news item, The Political Animal is moving back up to Fredericton Sunday afternoon and will be helping Holy Cross House welcome its first year students in style. Blog postings will likely drop off during that time, especially if the Cross has Internet problems. Again. Also, expect the move towards the Aquinian website sooner, rather than later. Now, you made it through the post, so have a good laugh.

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