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Epic fails

It hasn’t been an easy year for the Liberal government. Here are some of the more notable PR disasters and political fumbles from the last several months.

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Arbitrator out of order
The Liberals' approach to health care union arbitration bordered on ridiculous. The government tried using legislation to force health care workers into specific unions. Arbitrator James Dorsey would ultimately be fired (once by phone and three times by letter), and the Liberals would let the unions do what they originally wanted—keep their members and set up bargaining councils.

Ferry godfather
Economic and rural development and tourism minister Michel Samson repeatedly told reporters in January that the province had given no additional funds to the nightmarish Nova Star ferry besides the $26 million already disclosed. Turns out the Liberals had approved an additional $2.5 million back in December. Samson claims he misspoke.

Binders full of women
Gynecologist Robyn MacQuarrie has claimed health and wellness minister Leo Glavine's executive assistant tried to intimidate her with a folder of printed-off screenshots from her social media accounts. Glavine and Stephen McNeil laughed off the report. But the minister told reporters he hadn't directly asked his EA, Peter Bragg (who has refused comment), about the incident.

Do as I say
Community services minister Joanne Bernard claimed an "extraordinarily high" number of Nova Scotians stay on income assistance programs longer than they should, but was unable to give exact figures to reporters. Bernard herself was on income assistance for nine years, earning two degrees before her time in politics. There are more than 44,000 Nova Scotians on income assistance, each averaging four years on the programs.

Animated discussion
A fact sheet issued by the province about the new animation tax credit originally boasted of a 25 percent bonus on labour costs. That was halved two days later to read a 25 percent bonus on 50 percent of labour costs (or 12.5 percent, total). When pressed by reporters, minister of finance Diana Whalen was unable to explain the false information, calling the numbers "difficult to understand." The province eventually settled on a third set of figures, equalling 17.5 percent for all animation activities.

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