Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia government's wage package deal passes

The Nova Scotia government has passed a controversial wage package bill after another marathon overnight sitting.

It's the third night this week MLAs have been called to sit starting at midnight

Nova Scotia's politicians spent another night debating the merits of a controversial government bill that would grant the governing Liberals the power to set public sector wages for the next four years. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has passed a controversial wage package bill after another marathon overnight sitting.

MLAs wrapped the debate shortly after 6 a.m. Friday. The vote happened about an hour and a half later with 30 to 14 in favour of Bill 148.

This marked the third night this week MLAs have been called to sit starting at midnight.

Bill 148 is the provincial government's plan to impose a four-year wage package on Nova Scotia's 75,000 public servants.

Premier Stephen McNeil has promised not to bring it into force until it's needed. He told reporters that is likely to happen when a union decides to ask for arbitration. 

"That's what will happen," he said. "We will be triggering the bill. No arbitrator is going to get an opportunity to determine the ability of this government, this province to pay our way."

But opposition politicians chastised the governing Liberals for imposing contract conditions rather than negotiating in good faith.

"When you can't negotiate," said Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston. "You don't want to negotiate, you don't have the ability to negotiate, you legislate."

New Democrat Lenore Zann focused on those who may be denied a chance for a negotiated contract.

"Doctors, nurses, paramedics, health care workers," she said, "All care for our sick, our dying. Well now they're having their rights taken away from them."

Her caucus colleague Denise Peterson-Rafuse took a more personal stance belittling Liberal MLAs.

"Peoples' lives are being affected and they don't seem to understand that because they all feel so entitled," she said. "Arrogant and entitlement are the words."

About the Author

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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