Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Premier Defends Health, Education Reforms in Business Speech

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Premier Defends Health, Education Reforms in Business Speech

Article excerpt

N.S. premier defends health, education reforms

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HALIFAX - A government compensation offer for the removal of principals and vice-principals from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union would cost about $800,000, Premier Stephen McNeil said Wednesday.

Speaking with reporters following his annual state-of-the-province speech, McNeil said the offer was to help make the union "whole" while it found ways to make up union dues with the pending loss of part of its membership.

"What we've said to them is that we would transition them for a year," said McNeil. "It's about $800,000 is what we figured out the amount would be ... and that would allow the union to make decisions for their own sustainability."

He said the government wasn't interested in subsidizing the union beyond a year.

Last month the Liberal government said it would adopt all 22 recommendations in a report by consultant Avis Glaze. She recommended that principals and vice-principals be moved into a new professional association to eliminate the "conflict of interest'' when both management and employees are in the same union.

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union immediately rejected the report and the government's offer of financial help. At the time, union president Liette Doucet called it "insulting" and an attempt to buy off the union membership.

On Wednesday Doucet said the union's position hadn't changed, adding that she was also puzzled by the dollar figure quoted by McNeil.

"The only thing I can confirm is that he said it today in a scrum," she said. "I had not heard that -- the offer was never made to us directly."

Doucet said money is not the issue in any event: "The bottom line here is that we are not going to sell out public education. …

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