Nova Scotia teachers still undecided on new union president

Nova Scotia's 10,700 unionized teachers will take to the polls again next week to decide between Grant Frost and Paul Wozney.

Run-off election to be held next week to decide between Grant Frost and Paul Wozney

Members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union were voting Wednesday to elect a new president after a turbulent couple of years in which the Liberals imposed a new contract on the teachers and brought in an education bill that excludes principals and other supervisors from the union. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Teachers in Nova Scotia are still undecided about who will become the new president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, but next week's ballot won't include incumbent Liette Doucet.

An electronic vote was held on Wednesday. A candidate must win the majority of votes to be elected.

The run-off election will be between Grant Frost and Paul Wozney.

Doucet, as well as two other candidates from Wednesday's ballot, Cherie Abriel and Shawn Hanifen, are out of the running.

"I'm very grateful for the support I received and in the same breath I have enormous respect for the candidates who ran and didn't make the run-off," said Wozney. 

​"I think especially Liette. She has paid a tremendous price to be our leader over the last couple of years and I certainly don't think today's results are an indictment of her as a person or as a leader. I think our members are maybe looking for something different."

Race is close

Frost said his biggest concern, if elected, will be to alert the government to the low numbers of teachers entering the profession in Nova Scotia, which he said has resulted in a crisis.

"The public needs to be aware of this," he said Thursday. Frost said competition for teachers is high around the world right now.

Both candidates are based in the Halifax area.

Wozney said the official numbers were released to union members and he was "a decimal shy of 46 per cent [of the votes.]"

"I'm very, very happy with that support. It's a very strong result heading into the second round. By no means is this thing won."

A news release from the NSTU said of the 10,700 unionized teachers in the province, 70 per cent of members voted.

The run-off election will be held online on May 31.

Doucet will remain the NSTU president until Aug. 1.