HALIFAX, NS – Stephen McNeil used an around-the-clock sitting and his majority government to recklessly ram through legislation that will impose a contract on teachers and saddle taxpayers with years of lawsuits and unknown legal costs.
The Progressive Conservatives voted against the McNeil government’s unconstitutional Bill 75. All Liberal MLAs toed the Party line and voted in favour of the imposed teachers’ contract and costly lawsuits.
PC leader Jamie Baillie says it’s a sad day for our province, our children and our democracy.
“Stephen McNeil has made an absolute mess out of our education system. He’s recklessly created chaos for students, teachers and parents and permanently poisoned our classrooms,” said Baillie. “This unconstitutional Bill will cost taxpayers millions in legal fees and does nothing to improve the conditions in our classrooms.”
Stephen McNeil’s record on education:
Poisoned classrooms and created unworkable conditions for students and teachers
Saddled taxpayers with years of costly lawsuits and unknown legal fees
Ignored practical, reasonable classroom reforms that would make children’s education better
Shut down schools
Failed to negotiate a collective agreement with teachers, something every government that’s tried for 122 years managed to do successfully
Shattered the trust between his government and teachers
Refused to let over 300 people speak at the Law Amendments Committee
Caused the first ever province-wide teachers’ strike in our history
Made political decisions to build schools in Liberal constituencies, including the Premier’s and the Education Minister’s own areas, ahead of schools with greater need.
The PCs introduced two bills in this sitting that make concrete improvements in the classroom. They would require school boards to adopt comprehensive discipline policies and give principals and teachers the ability to enforce them and also require students to meet expected learning outcomes appropriate to their grade level and to meet acceptable behaviour standards, permitting teachers to fail students who do not do so.
Baillie is committed to repealing Bill 75 when elected Premier. He’s dedicated to investing in new EPAs and hard class caps. These initiatives fit together with Progressive Conservative commitments announced last year like putting vocational training back in our schools and making mental health supports available to all students.
Baillie says only a change in government will be able to rebuild the trust with teachers and fix our classrooms for students.
ELECTORAL BOUNDARY REVIEW
Baillie wants Stephen McNeil to keep the Legislature open to appoint an independent boundary review commission to set boundaries before the next election. Last month, the current boundaries were deemed unconstitutional by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. Interference was used by the previous government to eliminate minority Acadian and African Nova Scotian seats.
“Stephen McNeil is wasting time by refusing to strike an electoral boundary review commission,” said Baillie. “Let’s do it right now. It would be wrong for Stephen McNeil to run the election on these unconstitutional boundaries.”