<strong>Liberals need a plan to avoid potential Bell Aliant job losses</strong>

Published on August 14, 2014

Last week my leader, Maureen MacDonald, joined PC Leader Jamie Baillie in asking Premier Stephen McNeil to hold a meeting of the oneNS Coalition to discuss the recent BCE takeover of Bell Aliant.

On July 23, 2014, BCE announced the $3.95 billion deal to take control of Bell Aliant. To eliminate “synergies” the company also announced it is looking to find $100 million worth of savings through the merger.
Bell Aliant currently employs almost 1,600 Nova Scotians, which is why I was disappointed the Liberals rejected our request to develop a plan to address the situation.

Residents of Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River know how important it is to find and maintain jobs - which is why in the last few years I went to bat to help prevent both the Truro Raceway and the Eddy Group from closing during two separate crisis situations, and convinced our former Premier to invest in Scotsburn, Polymer and Kohler in order to maintain jobs and create new ones for the people in our community.

Hundreds of Bell Aliant employees are now worried about their careers and the province needs to be doing everything it can to help. The premier taking a wait-and-see approach to these potential job losses, does little to address these concerns.

If the premier is unwilling to ask the oneNS coalition to create a pitch to convince BCE to keep jobs Nova Scotia, he needs to explain what his government  is willing to do. Some of the questions the NDP wants him to answer are as follows:

Does the premier know how many jobs could be impacted? Has he, or the Minister of Economic and Rural Development & Tourism asked staff to come up with ideas to encourage BCE not to eliminate positions in Nova Scotia? Similarly, has the premier discussed the matter with Joachim Stroink, the chairman of the Economic Development Committee, of which I am a member? Perhaps the premier could request that the deputy minister of ERDT meet with our committee as soon as possible to discuss the impact of this merger.

In the last month our province lost close to 3,000 full time jobs, it’s time the Liberals and Stephen McNeil stopped sitting on their hands and started doing something to prevent outmigration from rural communities like ours.

Lenore Zann

MLA Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River