[NEW GLASGOW, NS] — Saturday morning en route to Antigonish, the Public Service Alliance of Canada stopped in New Glasgow to protest job cuts outside of Central Nova MP Peter MacKay’s office.
Chants of “unions are here to stay, Stephen Harper go away” and “when they say cut backs, we say fight back” were heard from the group of over 100 people.
John MacLennan, the national president for the Union of National Defence Employees said the reason for stopping in New Glasgow was that MacKay is one of the ministers in Harper’s cabinet and “supported the decision to downsize the jobs.”
“If you’re going to affect the people and the families without any reason or sound business case then we’re going to take the message to Peter MacKay’s riding and his constituents that this government is lying to the Canadian tax payer,” said MacLennan.
MacKay was not present to meet the PSAC in New Glasgow, but issued a statement late on Friday afternoon prior to their arrival. The statement says that it is not the government lying to the people rather that the PSAC is “misrepresenting basic facts.”
"The Public Service Alliance is doing a disservice to its members and to our region by misrepresenting basic facts," said MacKay in the statement. "The civilian workforce at National Defence has grown by 5,000 people nationally since 2005. Even with the implementation of recent budgetary decisions, our federal government has grown the number of jobs in the Atlantic area by just under 11 per cent in that same timeframe."
MacKay also references a report by Toronto Dominion Economics, saying the Halifax shipbuilding contract will generate 3,200 new jobs in Nova Scotia.
Regardless of receiving the statement, MacLennan believes that more jobs are being cut than necessary in the province and throughout the country.
Saturday afternoon the PSAC were meeting other members from the northern Nova Scotia in Antigonish to hold a public barbecue and get their message out.