HALIFAX - Worlds seemed to collide today outside the Nova Scotia Legislature as the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) local 22, the IWK Health Care Workers, staged a protest over recent cuts to youth-care workers, at the same time as the Lieutenant-Governor was set to deliver a speech from the throne.
The early afternoon rally saw a group of about 65 members of NSGEU and their allies, complete with placards, a great dane in a cape and bow tie, and a generator-fueled sound system bumping out such classic hits as Chumbawumba's "I Get Knocked Down," vying for attention with the Stadacona Air Force Base Military Brass Band, in full dress uniform, playing numerous versions of "O Canada." As lines of soldiers paraded past with bayonnets unsheathed and pointed skyward, protestors decried the fact that the recent cuts to youth-care workers will mean that mental rehabilitation programs at the IWK will no longer be offered on a 24/7 basis, and that young people involved in such programs will be expected to put their rehabilitation on hold starting Friday afternoons at 3pm, to restart again on Mondays.
The opportunity for a camera-friendly meet-and-greet was not lost on MLAs from Nova Scotia's opposition parties, on hand for the pomp and feathered hat routine of the Lieutenant Governor's speech. And while Maureen MacDonald, NDP Minister of Health, certainly was not anywhere near the protestors who see her as at least partially responsible for the current government's lack of a "Mental Health Strategy," members of the opposition clutched hands with the protestors as television cameras fluttered close by. PC leader Jaimie Bailie was there. Liberal leader Stephen MacNeill was also there, as were several others. Whether these sunny day photo opportunities translate into championing the cause of local 22 on the floor of the Legislature remains to be seen.
Please enjoy the photos from today's rally.