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Students and highway workers rally at the Legislature

by Robert Devet

Students and provincial highway workers were at the gates of Province House when the Fall session kicked off with the reading of the throne speech. Photo Robert Devet
CUPE Local 1867 highway workers are against the Liberal government's plans to privatize a publicly owned paving plant, arguing that this move will cost the taxpayers a lot of money.  Photo Robert Devet
Students are calling for reduced tuition fees and increased investment in education. Photo Robert Devet
Students intend to remind the Liberal government of the many promises made while in opposition. Photo Robert Devet
Another group of protesters joined the fray.  But what is their beef?  Photo Robert Devet

K'JIPUKTUK, HALIFAX - Students and highway workers were waiting at the gate when newly minted Liberal premier Stephen MacNeil arrived for the opening of the fall session of the Nova Scotia legislature this Thursday.

The highway workers, members of CUPE Local 1867, are unhappy about McNeil's plan to pull the plug on the only publicly owned asphalt plant and road paving company in Nova Scotia.

Many believe the publicly owned outfit has saved taxpayer's money and allowed for road paving in remote areas of the province that private paving companies would deem unprofitable.

CUPE spokesperson Peter Baxter believes abandoning the plant just doesn't make sense.

"We believe that the public option augments the private sector," Baxter told the Halifax Media Co-op. "We are paving less than 3% of the roads in the province, but we are paving in rural areas that have not been popular for private tendering, so we think the public option was a good thing."

Baxter also thinks that having a publicly owned asphalt plant in the mix forced private competitors to sharpen their pencils and save taxpayers money.

"We think [the public option] is still is a good approach, and that the Liberal government should maintain it, not simply sell it off for purely philosophical reasons," said Baxter.

Students were at the legislature to remind the Liberal government of the many promises made when the liberal party was still in opposition. The rally was called by King's, Dalhousie and nscad student unions.

"We're here because Nova Scotians voted for change in October," student activist John Hutton told the Halifax Media Co-op. "Over the last four years we have seen education being cut and tuition fees rising. Students are graduating with over $35,000 of debt, and we need a new direction."

"That means restoring funding to education and reducing tuition fees," said Hutton.

"A new government means an opportunity, and we hope that students keep marching and keep protesting and keep signing petitions and keep the pressure up because it is time for change. Student debt levels are not sustainable and we need a new direction."

 

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert

 

 

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351 words

Comments

Hello, the student rally was

Hello, the student rally was a joint effort of the King's, Dalhousie and nscad student unions. Dalhousie is not a member of the cfs, so it shouldn't just be attributed to them.

 

Thanks,

John Hutton

Fixed it. CFS sent out an

Fixed it. CFS sent out an invite, hence the confusion.

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