English Matters

Nova Scotia Bill 100 and the Corporate University

We know that many of you across the country have been following the events surrounding the governing Liberal Party’s introduction–and apparent rush to pass–Bill 100 here in Nova Scotia. The Bill, charmingly titled “Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act,” has been read by labour, student, and faculty unions as an anti-labour bill that jeopardizes collective bargaining rights and that puts the independence of universities and academic freedom at risk.  Many have also suggested that certain provisions in the Bill (as read) run counter to Charter-protected freedoms.

As Julia M. Wright, ACCUTE member (and member of the ACCUTE office family), has written on her blog (very usefully rounding up many of the relevant links),

“It should be noted that there has been much public outcry over this Bill, particularly over its suspension of rights to strike and to grieve, its system of fines for dissent, and its failure to get actual accountability and transparency on financial matters: finances are only examined under this Bill in the context of a crisis. For broader examinations of Bill 100, see the response by the Canadian Assoc. of University Teachers, a joint statement by Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, Canadian Federation of Students–Nova Scotia, Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers, Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, & Canadian Union of Public Employees, and an op-ed by Scott Stewart, president of the CBU Faculty Association. These are all negative; at time of writing, I am not aware of any published statements in support of the Bill except from its framers–the Liberal government, apparently in consultation with university presidents.]”

Today, ACCUTE president Jason Haslam spoke, along with dozens of others, to the Law Amendments committee to express his personal concern with the Bill.  We feel it appropriate to share Jason’s submission, which can be found below.  Julia also spoke, and you can read her submission at her blog, linked above.

Please read both posts, and follow the other links, and let us know what you think.  The Nova Scotia government is touting this as a “first” in Canada, and this raises concerns for many about the future of labour rights and postsecondary education.  Do you agree?  After reading about this, if you are so inclined, consider making a written submission to the committee to express your opinion (though it will need to be done quickly, as the Bill seems set to be rushed through a final vote: we apologize for not writing sooner about this, but we’ve been in the thick of it).  The process for written submissions can be found here:http://nslegislature.ca/index…/get-involved/submissions_faq/.

You can read Jason’s presentation to the committee below, or download here (note, Jason says “WARNING: neoliberal arguments used to combat the neoliberal university herein, both because of my recalcitrant Foucauldianism and because of my audience and the fact that I only had five freakin’ minutes.”  Jason has been advised to have a nap now.)

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