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Judy Haiven at Law Amendments: What about the future of this province?

Today’s remarks by Judy Haiven at the Law Amendments Committee regarding Bill 75 to remove the right to strike from teachers.

My name is Judy Haiven and I’m a professor at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University. I am a specialist in industrial relations and teach it.

I seem to remember not so very long ago, when the NDP was in power, that the NDP government made it illegal for paramedics to strike. At that time Stephen McNeil told us he opposed the legislation, and he said that the NDP was taking away their right to strike.

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On July 5, 2013 McNeil said, as reported on Global News: “Let’s be clear, it’s an anti-strike bill. There has been no work stoppage. We’re not forcing paramedics back to work. What we’re doing is taking away the right to strike from paramedics.”

So what’s so different now? Four years later, A majority Liberal government and a bully of a premier – someone whose words are worth nothing.  Our premier has shown himself to be a political opportunist..

9,300 teachers have staged a nearly three-month work-to-rule to protest the dismal conditions under which they teach.

This is not primarily about money and teachers’ salaries. It’s about giving our children and grandchildren a good education. Instead McNeil and his government have turned a deaf ear. They won’t negotiate, they only dictate.

In 120 years, there’s never been a province wide teachers strike in Nova Scotia. However the McNeil government has refused to listen to to the teachers on any level, so the teachers are staging an all out strike tomorrow.

It all comes down to money, does it Mr McNeil? What the government is proposing is a hefty pay cut for the teachers, if inflation runs at current levels.

At current levels the settlement the premier wants to shove down the teachers’ throats amounts to a 4.5 % to 5% pay cut.

That’s a slap in the face.

It’s about priorities. What does this Liberal government prioritise? Convention centres? Giveaways to the banks, giveaways to the Department of Business and Nova Scotia Business Inc, which  dispenses millions in pay roll rebates and other breaks for business?

What about our teachers and our children? What about the future of this province?

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