NDP pressure Liberal government to respect democratic rights of Nova Scotians

April 1, 2014

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says she is pleased the NDP Caucus was able to pressure the Liberal government to respect the democratic right of Nova Scotians during a law amendments committee meeting tonight, April 1.

“These hardworking Nova Scotians are upset about Stephen McNeil taking away their collective bargaining rights. Instead of listening to the people who elected him, the Premier sent in his deputy to shut them down. At best it was disrespectful, at worst it was undemocratic.”

Liberal committee members introduced a motion to cut off witnesses appearing before the law amendments committee to speak on Bill 37. The proposed cut off time was 11:30 pm. There were still upwards of 80 people scheduled to appear. The Liberals also made a motion that would have prevented committee members from making amendments to Bill 37.

“The Nova Scotia Legislature is supposed to belong to the people, but under the Liberals it just belongs to Stephen McNeil,” said MacDonald.

“First he didn’t consult Nova Scotians on his essential services bill then he tried to take away their right to share their concerns with the Legislature. We weren’t about to let that happen.”

After pressure by NDP Caucus members the Liberals retracted their motion and put forward a new motion to allow witnesses to continue to testify until 1:00 pm Wednesday. The Liberals also withdrew their request that committee members not be allowed to amend the bill.

MacDonald said if the Liberals believed their own rhetoric on Bill 37 they would have introduced this Legislation last week before the Liberal AGM.

“The Liberals didn’t want their mishandling of negotiations to spill over into their AGM last week and this week they’re worried about the impact on their first budget address,” said MacDonald.

“Ultimately the Premier has placed public relations ahead of the nurses’ concerns and the democratic right of all Nova Scotians wishing to speak on this Bill.”