Liberals and Tories traded talking-points back and forth during their fear-mongering debate on First Contract Arbitration. Both parties made particular mention of Manitoba and that province’s FCA legislation.
We would like to point out two things.
First, take a look at the record of workplaces in Manitoba where it was necessary to use First Contract Arbitration legislation (chart from the Economic Policy Institute):
The Economic Policy Institute points out what this review means:
The 87.5% multi-year survival rate for the small group of businesses that underwent FCA over the course of eight years during a turbulent business cycle is actually better than the 86.2% one-year survival rate of businesses in Canada between 2005 and 2006, near the peak of the business cycle, when survival rates should be highest.
Secondly, what if Nova Scotia was more like Manitoba in general? What might Nova Scotia look like if it had been governed better over the last 20 years?
The short answer is that it would look better than the Nova Scotia that Premier Dexter inherited on June 2009 in key economic categories:
• Manitoba had Canada’s best-performing provincial economy, 2005-2010
• Manitoba had the lowest unemployment rate in the country, 2005-2010
• Manitoba had Capital investment rates double the national average
What many people have missed in this debate is that it’s not simply about unions and labour stability. It’s about economic development in the 21st century. It was almost painful to watch the NDP explain FCA legislation again and again to the opposition parties last week. Having exhausted common sense, statistics and a thorough explanation of how the legislation works, Dexter was left with nothing but to ask that Nova Scotia join the rest of the country with a modern labour law.