Open Letter from PC Education critic Pat Dunn on Education, Bill 75

April 27, 2017 at 8:56 am

“The Progressive Conservative Party will repeal every word of the Bill that imposes a contract on teachers.”

I’d like to dispel some political mischief that is being put forward by the New Democratic Party of Nova Scotia. They are being cute with whether PCs would amend or repeal Bill 75. But our actions speak louder than NDP words.

When the McNeil Liberals initially locked kids out of schools and were planning to introduce a bill to impose a contract on teachers, the Progressive Conservative members immediately rejected it and called the Premier out for manufacturing a crisis as a reason to force a contract on teachers.

Then, when the McNeil Liberals introduced Bill 75, not only did the PC caucus oppose it at every stage, we also used the rules of the House to attempt to force the Liberals to delay the Bill for six months, and get back to the table to negotiate. During the debate on Bill 75, the NDP proposed amendments to Bill 75 to improve the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions. The NDP, not the PCs, tried to make deals with the Liberals to amend Bill 75. We have committed to repealing not only Bill 75, but also Bill 148, both of which are heavy-handed, unconstitutional and will cost taxpayers more than bargaining in good faith would have. The McNeil Liberals seem determined to go down the same road that British Columbia did, and it continues to cost them dearly to fix.

The New Democratic Party is using social media to spread something that simply isn’t true. They say that the PC Party will not repeal Bill 75 because we intend to keep the Commission on Inclusive Education. The NDP has decided that updating our policy and understanding of modern approaches to include Nova Scotian children is simple, and unnecessary. We disagree.

Our approach to inclusion in Nova Scotia classrooms will need resources and must be done right.

However, the Progressive Conservative Party will repeal every word of the Bill that imposes a contract on teachers. And we will speed up the process for getting them the resources they need by scrapping the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, putting the $20 million right into classroom caps and educational assistants. The work being done by the Commission on Inclusive Education will inform us on what it means to properly support and resource teachers and kids in Nova Scotian classrooms in the 21st century.

So, don’t buy the NDP words. Progressive Conservatives have a vision for education in Nova Scotia. We are focused on results, and will act to repeal the imposed contract on teachers without jeopardizing work toward a better future for all kids in our classrooms.