McNeil Budget Misses the Mark

Election night, May 30, 2017.  Re-elected Premier Stephen McNeil, after seeing his majority government significantly reduced, said, “I want to assure you that I’ve heard you and I’ve listened.”  On that night he promised to be the Premier for all Nova Scotians.

Since that night the McNeil Liberals have ripped provisions out of our collective agreements, ignored the pleas for help from front line health care workers, and taken any opportunity to disrespect working people from all sectors of the public service.

The reason for this harsh treatment, unions were told, was because the cupboards at the Department of Finance were bare. There was no money. Five years of cuts, closures and chaos was the price that working people needed to pay, today, for a better future tomorrow.

Yesterday, the McNeil Liberals introduced there 2018-19 budget. It’s a balanced budget with close to a $30-million surplus, plus a quarter billion dollar windfall that was announced earlier this week.

So given all this the future should be bright for everyone, right?  Well not so much.

While ripping provisions out of collective agreements and imposing contracts full of zeros on working people this week Stephen McNeil gave the bulk of that $250-million to fatten the bottom line of corporate giants like Eastlink and Bell. Corporate welfare by any other name.

The NSGEU released the follow up report to Code Critical in an effort to help provide recommendations to help address the ongoing crisis in emergency departments.  McNeil’s response to these ambulance backlogs appears to be buy more ambulances. It’s as though they haven’t even read our reports or considered our recommendations.

The State of Maine, for ferry servicing and security, received more money than mental health services. And the McNeil budget doesn’t include one new nursing home bed.  Crisis? What crisis?

If history shows us anything the true impact of McNeil’s budget will come to light over the coming days and weeks. The talking points have been said and now it’s time for the details to be scrutinized and truth to be told.

The people McNeil promised he listened to and heard from continue to provide the services and supports families count on – most without a fairly negotiated collective agreement.  At the same time hefty contracts are handed out to increase already profitable corporations.

The crisis in health care continues to be denied, because it’s tough to invest in solutions when you don’t even acknowledge there is a problem.

After five years, an election and two post-election budgets it’s clear who Stephen McNeil is and who is important to him. And it’s not working people.

The NSGEU stands united and will continue to fight for what is fair and what is right. Working people are the backbone of this province and thousands of people depend on the jobs you do each and every day.

Thank you for all you do.

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