November 29, 2016 5:29 pm
Updated: November 29, 2016 6:16 pm

Nova Scotia premier recorded ‘disappointed’ video before contract talks with teachers collapsed

Premier Stephen McNeil pre-recorded his "disappointment" at the breakdown of talks between government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union on Friday.

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A video expressing Premier Stephen McNeil’s frustration at the latest collapse in contract talks with teachers is getting attention for all the wrong reasons.

The video was recorded on Friday afternoon when talks between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the government were still ongoing,  but in it McNeil says he’s “disappointed the union has walked away from the table.”

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READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers to start work-to-rule next Monday

Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative Party flagged the discrepancy first, pointing out in a tweet that the light outside suggested McNeil recorded the video before sunset, when talks broke down after sunset.

The union says it walked away from the bargaining table at 5:30 p.m.

McNeil’s office confirmed the video was recorded before the talks failed but it was only made “live” on YouTube on Saturday.

“There was an indication Friday afternoon that talks could break down,” McNeil’s Spokesperson David Jackson said in an emailed statement.

“We wanted to be prepared for any scenario…the decision was made to record the video in case it was needed,” he said. “Government has said consistently that it wants to be at the table.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers’ 16 contract demands and what the province says they cost

Jackson said McNeil did not record a video for the possibility that talks would be successful.

In a press release, Tory Leader Jamie Baillie questioned how the government could have been bargaining in good faith when plans for the video were already underway.

“No wonder there are questions about the Premier’s motives. He’s playing politics plain and simple,” Baillie said.

The union said Monday it left the talks because the government wasn’t willing to negotiate. President Liette Doucet told Global News the video confirms the union’s point.

“It proves there was never any intention to bargain in the first place,” she said.

Teachers will start working-to-rule on Monday. The last two tentative agreements, recommended by the union, were rejected by teachers.

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