Bussing strike hard for all

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Five Islands News with Doug McCarthy

Hello once again from Five Rock.

Normally, I try to avoid controversy in my column, opting for 'feel-good' stories, and either referring stories to my editor or not mentioning them at all.

Today, however, I decided to go out on a limb and actually offer an opinion on an issue.  I realize that most people will have an opinion on this issue, and it most likely differs from mine, and I respect that.

Please keep in mind that this is solely my opinion, and I offer it not intending to persuade you to change your mind, but merely to speak my mind.

As I am sure you all know, as of Monday, January 27, the bus drivers, janitors, and maintenance workers of Chignecto-Central School Board went on strike. This has many parents up in arms, because they now are responsible for finding a way for these kids to get to school. I understand this is an inconvenience, especially for those of us who live a good distance from the school, and for those whose children are writing exams, and do not need to be at school the entire day, and I sincerely hope this strike ends quickly.

Although I sympathize with the school board, who consistently are expected to provide the same essential services with a smaller budget each year, I would like to express my support for those workers who are on strike as of today. From my understanding, the main issue here is contracting out jobs that could be done by existing employees. It only stands to reason these workers should stand up and fight for their jobs to be protected from 'outsourcing.' I know for a fact that if my job was at risk, I would take great comfort in the fact that my co-workers would fight on my behalf.  If the shoe was on the other foot, would you stand idly by and watch your fellow employees be shown the door for the sake of cheaper labour, knowing full well that next time, it might be you?

Again, as I know this is a sensitive issue, I do not offer my opinion lightly, and I am not trying to change how you feel. To quote the French author, Voltaire, 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' 

Having said that, anyone who wishes to offer a different opinion, please feel free to contact me at nikki.mccarthy@ns.sympatico.ca.

My sincerest condolences go out to the family of Dougie Dowe. Dougie was a good guy who was as easy-going a man as I have ever met. He walked a hard road in his later years, and I never once heard him complain about it. Rest easy, Doug.

I would like to wish a happy birthday to my son Brent, who turns 18 on Thursday, January 30.  Let's see. He's 18, so that makes me... never mind.

Thanks for reading.

Organizations: Central School Board

Geographic location: Chignecto

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