health care, Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald

Rodney and his ever-shrinking sensibility

I know that Briguy is probably busily beavering away, okay running a Google news search, on Rodney MacDonald for his weekly Fiddler update, but this one this morning jumped out at me.

Like other provinces whose name does not rhyme with “Alberta”, Nova Scotia suffers from a pressing personnel problem in many health care fields. One of the most critical problems, but by no means the only one, is the difficulty in attracting and holding trained personnel. It is so bad in fact, that hospitals in several rural areas have to plan emergency room shutdowns in order to allow staff much-needed vacation time.

Facing this problem at the same time as negotiations stall with public sector unions, the MacDonald government has decided the best route to go is to do one of the following three (you guess):

A) fight for a better transfer deal with Ottawa,
B) redirect money from farcical programs like the light-bulb give-away that forces some Nova Scotians to drive up to 300 km to one of the three chosen stores to receive a “free” light bulb, or
C) further alienate the healthcare workers that choose to stay here by restricting their right to walk off the job in an effort to “protect public safety”.

If you chose “A” or “B”, you must be from out of province, because the Nova Scotia answer is “C”. In what has to be considered a massive fiddle up, the MacDonald government plans in the fall to table legislation to restrict the rights health care workers to walk off the job. This would be understandable if there was a history of long, drawn out strikes that closed down hospitals, but I’m unaware of such activity in the years that I’ve lived here. The labour action that I’ve seen has been limited to single-day demonstrations that involve non-emergency operations, not massive walkouts that the heavy-handedness of the potential legislation suggests.

I can see the Nova Scotia poster at the university job fairs across the country now – “Work in charming Nova Scotia, where your karma won’t be cluttered with too much time off or too much money. Oh yeah, and we won’t let you bitch about it, either. Oh, here’s a promotional about some tall ships.”


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