Municipalities Feel the Pain/ Phone In: The Debate over Fixed Dates for Elections
Pain All Round: Premier Darrell Dexter opened a meeting of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities in Cape Breton today with a sober warning that local governments will feel the pinch as the province tries to balance the books. And there's plenty of fiscal pain to go around. New Brunswick's new Minister of Finance has promised to eliminate the province's 750-million dollar deficit in four years. Prince Edward Island is forecasting a 55-million dollar deficit this year alone. So where does that leave municipalities, who rely on money from the provinces to cost-share big construction projects, to fix roads and to provide social services? We asked Don Downe, the mayor of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Cory Thomas, who's a municipal councillor in Summerside, and David Hanson, the Mayor of Rexton and President of the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick.
Pick A Date: Is establishing fixed dates for elections a good idea? Supporters say it goes a long way towards levelling the playing field, and makes sure the party in power doesn't have the advantage of picking the date that works best for it. But skeptics worry fixed dates will lead to endless, U-S style campaigning, where the election cycle itself becomes the focus, and discussions about ideas and policy are secondary. Political scientists Tom Bateman, of St Thomas University in New Brunswick and Tom Urbaniak at Cape Breton University were our guests, as we asked are you in favour of fixed election dates?
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