The Halifax bus strike blues brothers - Macleans.ca

The Halifax bus strike blues brothers

The premier’s brother has been an employee of Halifax Metro Transit for over two decades

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Haligonians are desperate to see their buses back on the road amid a current Metro Transit strike, but negotiations between government officials and union heads don’t look promising. The ever-unpopular Nova Scotia premier, Darrell Dexter, has so far taken a complete hands-off approach to the strike (which is on the verge of its one month anniversary) and Halifax residents now think they have a pretty good idea why: It turns out that the premier’s brother, Rick Dexter, has been an employee of Halifax Metro Transit for over two decades. And not only is the premier’s brother a bus driver, he is also—as of about a week ago—a scab.

According to a number of Halifax sources, Rick Dexter got behind the wheel of an Access-A-Bus at a city bus depot on February 20th, and tried to drive back to work amid angry jeers from fellow employees, who chanted “scab” as he pulled out of the lot. To complicate matters even further, Rick Dexter ran for vice-president of his union in 2009, urging union members to also vote for his now-premier brother in the upcoming election.

Halifax Councilor Gloria McCluskey, of Dartmouth Centre, has said she’s received numerous phone calls from both transit users and bus drivers suffering from the strike and believes that Rick Dexter’s job is a possible explanation for premier Dexter’s reticence on the issue. The premier’s office, however, was quick to release a statement following the “scab” incident, ensuring Haligonians that his brother’s transit connection has nothing to do with his decision not to interfere with the strike. “The premier is concerned about the impact the strike is having on people, including drivers and their families,” Dexter’s spokesperson said. “Our office is not going to comment on [back-to-work]legislation as it would interfere with the collective bargaining process.”