I’m guessing that for the vast majority of you, the answer would be, “Nothing.” That’s because this government’s miserly, confrontational approach to bargaining with all public sector unions has led to wage stagnation and effective wage cuts for the vast majority of our members. Wages aside, this Premier has cut funding from non-profit organizations and critical health care services, like our long-term care facilities, at a time where funding and support is needed more than ever.
In the weeks leading up to this election call, however, Premier McNeil has stopped crying poor and has started throwing money around – and a great deal of money, at that!
But they’ve done nothing to address the real problems that plague our province. Our “Code Critical” report clearly showed our health care system is in crisis; people are desperate to find placement in long-term care facilities; and our home support providers are on the verge of collapse, with new restrictions that have been placed upon them by the austerity-minded Liberals. Students are dealing with record-high tuition rates, and many of our young and creative minds are forced to leave Nova Scotia in search of opportunity and “innovation” that Stephen McNeil has promised, but failed to deliver on.
We’ve heard from many disappointed NSGEU members who reluctantly admit they supported Stephen McNeil and his Liberals in the last provincial election, and are bitterly disappointed in how they have conducted themselves over their first term. They’ve failed to deliver on critical promises that swayed many: a doctor for every Nova Scotian, ending Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly, and respecting full, free collective bargaining. Let’s not reward them with a second term.
Over the next few weeks, I am calling on you all to get political. We certainly are not telling you how you should vote. Rather, we’re asking that you carefully consider how each of the political parties will treat you, a public sector worker. We know all too well the heavy-handed, dictatorial approach Stephen McNeil has taken towards collective bargaining rights, but where do the other parties stand? We need you to ask them that question. Then, we need you to get involved: take the time to cast your ballot, have conversations with your friends and family and let them know why you aren’t supporting Stephen McNeil and his Liberal government, allow a political party to place a sign on your lawn, or even take an active role campaigning for a candidate. There are many ways you can make a difference during this election!
Together, we can improve the future of our province.