A lot of Nova Scotians who zoned in on Thursday’s speech from the throne will be musing about the prospect of a new holiday in February, or the possibility of somewhat cheaper power rates down the road.
Indeed, it will be interesting to see what the new Liberal government can accomplish in one of their more memorable election promises: to break the monopoly Nova Scotia Power has on supplying electricity to consumers. Even if the utility’s iron grip on the province’s grid were broken, consumer choice would mean importing the product from elsewhere at a competitive price.
But as the story often goes in the political realm, more on that later. That kind of stride is definitely not made overnight.
There’s plenty more in the throne speech that will please Nova Scotians if carried through to satisfaction, such as a promised review of MLAs’ salaries, benefits and pensions – something long overdue, many will agree.
One pledge, though, perhaps less prominent and one we’ve heard before, is the will expressed by Premier Stephen McNeil for improved decorum in the legislature, a less rancorous tone and a hope that the parties can work together.
That would be an accomplishment, and not only because improved behaviour would lower the cynicism and command greater respect from the public. In addition to providing scrutiny in their criticism, it would be of benefit to have the opposition as contributors.
McNeil has said his government would be more open to considering private member’s bills from the opposition benches.
That would be a welcome approach, since too often in governments in this province and elsewhere we have witnessed curt dismissal of ideas that come from political opponents, even when presented in good faith. It’s sheer arrogance.
We hope the Liberals are sincere about this, because it could mark a progressive shift. It will take not just the governing party though to actually make it work, but a co-operative attitude from all three.