Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Parties Offer Conflicting Visions on School-Related Issues

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Parties Offer Conflicting Visions on School-Related Issues

Article excerpt

School issues dominate Nova Scotia campaign

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HALIFAX - Education and help for sexual assault victims were the main themes Saturday as Nova Scotia's election campaign neared its midway point.

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill hammered Stephen McNeil and his Liberal government's handling of the messy dispute with the province's teachers that saw the province impose a contract this year after negotiations with the union were unsuccessful.

"Teachers were diminished, and demeaned, and insulted," said Burrill. "There is no wellspring of affection for the McNeil Liberals."

The Liberals issued a news release Saturday promising to put the brakes on school closures as they look for fat to cut in school district administration. The statement said a re-elected Liberal government would launch a full review of "administrative structures" of school boards.

"The recent decisions by boards to reduce classroom supports without looking into central administration savings illustrates the need for this kind of review," the party said in a statement. "Student needs must be the central focus in resource decision-making."

The Liberals said they want to respect local decision-making while make sure the "front lines" of the education system have adequate funding.

The Progressive Conservatives also waded into the education debate, releasing a statement Saturday bashing the other parties' records and accusing the Liberals and NDP of "playing politics" with schools.

"How can Nova Scotians trust Stephen McNeil with school reviews, after he made the deliberate decision to build schools in Liberal constituencies ahead of ones with much greater needs?" the PC party said. "Now, both the McNeil Liberals and the NDP have announced a moratorium."

The Tories promised to revive schools in Nova Scotia's struggling communities by investing in classrooms and vocational training. …

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