Dec 232015

Sébastien Labelle is VP (Culture & Mayworks) at the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council and a member of Solidarity Halifax. This is his submission on Bill 148 at Law Amendments, on Wednesday, December 17.

I’m an actor, and am directly affected by the Liberal government’s damaging, imposed changes to the film industry. I’m also a teaching assistant at Dalhousie, and am directly affected by the Liberal government’s imposition of anti-union, anti-academic, and anti-student legislation in the post-secondary education sector. I’m a Nova Scotian citizen, and so I would also have been affected by the Liberal government’s illegal attempted changes to the healthcare sector, and will be affected by this new illegal legislation in the wider public sector – so too are my friends, and my family.

I’m tired of being here.

Every time I’ve been here in the past year, I’ve thought: well this one takes the cake. And, every time I’m alarmingly proved wrong by yet another piece of legislation introduced by this government. This government seems hell-bent – even after repeated blunders and humiliations – to wage an unrelenting attack against the working people of this province. An attack that disproportionately targets women, and that drives youth out of a province already suffering from population decline.

The Bank of Canada recently reported that one of the biggest threats to our economy is rising household debt for young workers due to climbing housing costs and stagnating wages. We’re seeing now the results across campuses of the “tuition adjustment” permitted by this government in a province where tuition costs are already among the highest. And with this current bill, we’re telling students graduating with huge burdens that what awaits them is wage stagnation from one of the province’s major employers. That and, you know, a crippled creative industry and public services in crises for our families.

Meanwhile the Liberal government doesn’t blink an eye handing out millions in subsidies to corporations worth billions – the RBCs, the Risleys, the Irvings – you know, people who are really hurting. The Liberal government is quick to throw money to the private sector, where overwhelmingly, job creation means low-paying, precarious work.

Where is this government’s investment in the people of Nova Scotia? Who is this government really representing? It’s not the hard working people of this province, surely.

Here are a few suggestions for real, long term, effective investments for the future of our economy:






Services for people with disabilities

Good job creation

Green economy

The arts

Things that would all help reduce household debt and make Nova Scotia a better place to be. I’m not sure it is right now.


Note: Articles published by Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.



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