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#NSuncut Coalition Against Austerity wants to make some noise

by Robert Devet

Determined activists at last night's launch of a new anti-austerity coalition in Halifax. Photo Tony Tracy, facebook
Determined activists at last night's launch of a new anti-austerity coalition in Halifax. Photo Tony Tracy, facebook

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Close to 80 Halifax activists from diverse backgrounds met last night to consider what to do about a provincial budget that hurts so many Nova Scotians and a Liberal government that refuses to listen.

The meeting was called by the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council and the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students.

It's not often that Halifax activists get together and you see people shaking hands and doing introductions.

It's a small world. They tend to know one another.

Yet at last night's launch of the Coalition Against Austerity at the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council boardroom on Kempt Road introductions were frequently needed.

This speaks to the variety of backgrounds of those who attended the packed meeting - poverty and disability activists, students from all Halifax universities, academics, workers in the film industry, students, union activists, artists, members of the Queer and LGBT community, anti-racism activists, and many more, old and young.

It also speaks to the broad range of groups that are negatively impacted by the latest provincial budget.

Going around the room people talked about the social assistance freeze that hurts the most vulnerable Nova Scotians, the cuts to community groups, the deregulation of university tuition, the layoffs of civil servants, privatization of home care, the freeze of the Environment budget and the government's reluctance to crate and support green jobs.

It wasn't an entirely urban affair, the plight of rural Nova Scotia was frequenly mentioned.

There were many references to the damage to the film industry caused by the cuts to the film tax credits.

The presence of so many film industry workers at last night's meeting, people who know how to organize a really good rally and to leverage social media, will likely make the upcoming activities a bit more pervasive.

“What we learned is that the government does not work for us, that it will not listen,” said one of those film workers.

Upcoming protests will likely also have a bit more of an edge. Things at times may just get a bit more personal.

“This government does not listen to reason,” said one attendant. “If we want to be heard we have to render ourselves ungovernable.”

Many activities were discussed, all to occur in the next couple of weeks, and there was no lack of volunteers to help coordinate those activities.

There will be teach-ins, banner drops, and other ways to get the message out .

Things kick off on this Friday, April 24th, with a rally at Province House to coincide with the budget being passed.

“It wont pass quietly,” the call to the rally states. “Bring your pots and pans and make some noise.”

May 1st, International Workers Day, and the day that the Financial Measures Act will likely pass, is another day targeted by the coalition.

Stay tuned.

Hashtag #NSuncut


Follow Robert Devet on Twitter  @DevetRobert



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It's superb that a coalition is building around  opposing the austerity agenda of the Liberal government.

Those concerned with this issue may be interested in my recent article on this topic, Straight through the heart: Liberals take aim at Nova Scotia's economy.

Austerity – the single-minded pursuit of short-term debt and deficit reduction – is politics racing willy-nilly down a blind alley without a long-term vision of how to grow both the economy and society.

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