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Letters to the editor, March 20, 2014

These are the letters and comments from the print edition


Speaking up

When Liberal MLA Joachim Stroink gleefully posed for the cameras sitting in the lap of a guy wearing black face, the Coast declared he was "not a racist" and "a good guy" just celebrating his Dutch heritage.

When other news outlets interviewed Stroink about how, after five months in office, he could not yet have opened a constituency office, or even publish a phone number, the Coast ignored the issue altogether.

Now that the Liberals have passed their anti-worker essential legislation bill, after Stroink and other Metro MLAs promised to respect the collective bargaining process, will the Coast speak up?

The Coast used to call itself Halifax's "alternative weekly." Prove you're still open to alternative voices, and print this letter.

You didn't used to shy away from criticisms of government. Despite the good work the NDP did in health and the environment, you concentrated on the things you disagreed with, to hold their feet to the fire. Did your fire go out?

And when Halifax had a Conservative mayor, who has a list of solid accomplishments including cleaning up the harbour and getting a new library, you focused in on issues you were against--- the Common concerts and a new convention centre.

But now that you helped drive votes away from a mayor who got things done to a mayor who can't even clear the sidewalks of snow or fix a pothole, where is your criticism of Mayor Savage?

The Liberal provincial government and the Liberal Mayor Savage seem hell bent on spending a massive amount of money on a new stadium. Where is your month long critique of stadiums?

When the Hamm government attacked workers' rights, you stood up. Why sit on your hands now, when the Liberals seem ready to take on not just the poor homecare workers, but the nurses, and then the teachers?

The teacher's union appeared before law amendments and criticized the Liberal government's essential services legislation. Even though the Liberals were limiting time people were allowed to speak, even though the Liberals were threatening workers to take the deal that was offered or the next one would be worse, even though the teachers might be next up, the teachers spoke up.

They spoke up because the essential services legislation makes it harder for all of us fighting for what's fair. By refusing to consider the union's offer of binding arbitration and introducing this draconian anti-worker bill, the Liberals have made it clear they do not support collective bargaining or the right to strike.

Teachers spoke up because they're concerned they've been duped by the Liberals. They claimed to care about teachers, but won't say whether essential services legislation will be forced on teachers too. They spoke up because they're worried that the Liberals will go back on their word of adding $65 million to the education budget this year. The Education Minister is already telling reporters they should read the fine-print of the Liberal platform, and the money could be added gradually over time.

Teachers spoke up because the Liberals have brought in the disgraced former Education Minister of Ontario to do a tax review. This is the woman who rolled back wages and nearly caused a general strike in Ontario before resigning. They spoke up because the homecare workers are paid so poorly that they couldn't live on strike pay for more than a couple days. And by standing up for homecare workers at law amendments the teachers were standing up for those least able to fight a lengthy battle alone.

Where was the Coast? Halifax deserves an "alt weekly" again. —Aaron MacKenzie, Halifax

Doctor's orders

In the early '60s, my husband and I were very young parents in Montreal. Our daughter was a very cranky baby, probably because I was such an uptight and inexperienced mother, with no relatives or friends around to give advice. Our paediatrician was an older British gentleman who advised me to have a bottle of beer a day, half with lunch, and half with supper, as it would

help with milk production, relax me, also get in my milk and relax the baby. I carried on the tradition with our son, and 50 years later, we have suffered no harm, and all like beer. Great article ("Mommy beerest," by Kristin Innes-Kaufman, March 13).--Ann B. West, Halifax


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