Nova Scotia premier's office admits video about teachers talks breaking down was uploaded early
The video, featuring Premier Stephen McNeil expressing his disappointment over the talks breaking down, was uploaded hours before talks broke down.
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The premier’s office admitted on Tuesday that it recorded and uploaded a video about talks with the teachers union breaking down before talks had actually broken down.
In a statement from spokesperson David Jackson, the premier’s office confirmed the video -- which features Premier Stephen McNeil expressing his disappointment that talks between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) and the province had been unsuccessful -- was recorded and uploaded to YouTube on Friday afternoon.
“There had been an indication Friday afternoon that talks could break down. We wanted to be prepared for any scenario, and without knowing for certain whether the Premier would be available later Friday and into Saturday, the decision was made to record the video in case it was needed,” the statement reads.
On Monday, the Progressive Conservatives were the first to point out that the video – with daylight in the background – was uploaded Friday afternoon. A YouTube data viewer puts the video’s upload time at just before 4 p.m. Talks didn’t break off till about 5:30 p.m., according to a union spokesperson. Jackson said the video wasn’t made live till Saturday afternoon.
“How can the Premier claim he was bargaining in good faith when he had already recorded and uploaded that video?," PC leader Jamie Baillie asked in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
Baillie is now calling on the premier to apologize.
“This proves this whole thing is nothing but a communications exercise for Premier McNeil and his high-priced communications team, rather than an actual contract negotiation," he said. "They don't care about classrooms, they care about playing politics."
NSTU announced on Monday that work-to-rule job action would begin on Dec. 5.