Action, not excuses, needed to protect Bell Aliant jobs

August 12, 2014

(Sackville, NS) NDP MLA Dave Wilson wants to know what Premier Stephen McNeil is going to do to prevent potential job losses resulting from the BCE takeover of Bell Aliant.

Wilson made the comments after learning on Monday the Premier turned down a joint request by NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald and PC Leader Jamie Baillie to hold a special meeting of the oneNS Coalition. The opposition leaders, and oneNS co-chairs, proposed the meeting to develop a strategy to avoid potential job losses as a result of the merger.

“Hundreds of Bell Aliant employees are worried about their careers and the province needs to be doing everything it can to help,” said Wilson. “This deal could be another blow to our economy after a month when the province lost close to 3,900 full-time jobs. The Premier should be fighting to protect jobs, not taking his current wait-and-see approach.”

On July 23, 2014, BCE announced the $3.95 billion deal to take control of Bell Aliant. To eliminate “synergies” the company also announced it is looking to find $100 million worth of savings through the merger.

Wilson also took issue with comments made by Premier McNeil’s Deputy Minister Bernie Miller in today’s allnovascotia.com. Miller suggested to the online publication that developing a pitch to keep BCE jobs in Nova Scotia would be the equivalent of “begging.” Wilson says it’s time the Liberals stop looking for excuses to do nothing, and develop a plan to deal with the situation.

“Has the Premier discussed this matter with the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism yet? Does the government know how many jobs could be impacted? Has he, or Minister Samson, asked ERDT staff to come up with some ideas to encourage BCE not to eliminate positions in Nova Scotia? Similarly, has the Premier discussed the matter with the Chair of the Economic Development committee, Joachim Stroink? Perhaps that committee could request the Deputy Minister of ERDT appear to talk about the impact of the merger as soon as possible?”