Once again, Mr. Frank McKenna parachutes into New Brunswick with pronouncements on behalf of the neoliberal establishment. Last fall he flew into Nova Scotia to state unequivocally –but wrongly– that shale gas and the eastern pipeline are beyond public debate because they represent the economic salvation of the Maritimes. As reported on the CBC, this week he has waded into the labour disputes at UNB and Mount Allison, clearly on the side of the Board and Administration of both institutions, while the Arbitration is still in process.
Either Mr. McKenna was speaking without thinking of the implications of his statement or his opinion was timed to influence the delicate process of arbitration. Both universities in question ought to do the right thing and distance themselves from Mr. McKenna and acknowledge that his statement is both ill-timed and impertinent. And the faculty associations would be in their full right to issue a formal protest.
This goes beyond the current labour dispute at our two main English-language universities: it is no less than a public insult to have to tolerate in silence this latest statement from a representative of Bay Street interests who, while he was Premier of this Province earned a reputation as an enemy of labour unions and is still resented and mistrusted by working people decades after he left office.
Judith A. Weiss lives in Sackville.