NDP leader Dominic Cardy

dog_with_attitudehas, with no doubt the best intentions in the world, called upon the Alward government to intervene in the labour dispute between AUNBT and UNB management. Using a colourful but somewhat unflattering metaphor, he comments on government underfunding of PSE:

“The government can’t nearly freeze funding to universities and then act surprised when the recruitment issue can’t be solved,” Cardy said. “You can’t take two dogs, not give them enough to eat, and then act surprised when they start to fight.”

At the risk of straining this conceit beyond the reader’s tolerance, I would add that if there are two dogs and one scuttles out of the room, nothing will get resolved either.

But — and I am speaking here as someone who lives with a dog — anyone who knows dogs knows that they instinctively understand how to work out things between themselves and are usually best left alone to do so. Not always pretty if you are squeamish about growling, but this method results in an outcome that both accept.

And it respects the dogs.

4 thoughts on “NDP leader Dominic Cardy

  1. Dear Ms. Jones,

    Enjoyed your blog post in re my comments – just wanted to make sure you know that my call is not for back to work legislation but for the government to get back to work and get involved in the discussions: the government provides the funding directly and indirectly (student loans, etc.) and should be at the table as the third player. Every day that the strike goes on without negotiations is an incremental step backwards for UNB and for New Brunswick.

    Good luck getting that other dog back in the room, and stay warm on the picket lines. I stopped by on Tuesday and everyone seemed in good spirits.

    Best wishes,


    • I think we will have to differ about the role of the government here, Mr. Cardy. As far as AUNBT is concerned, contract negotiations should stay between the union and the employer. Certainly universities get government funding, but they must still remain autonomous. We are also funded from tuition, and from donors. The table could get pretty crowded!

  2. Academic independence is critical, and must be defended at all costs.

    Government contributes the vast majority of the funds for the PSE system (including providing or guaranteeing the loans and other assistance for students) and, as you note, chronically underfunds PSE and stands back while the administration abuses its administrative -not academic- privileges.

    I would like to see the people’s representatives representing the public interest in a dispute around our largest university. I’m sure we can find a table with three seats. The alternative is for the government to feign impartiality and then legislate the union back to work without acknowledging its role in creating and perpetuating the conditions that led to the strike.


  3. Unfortunately, in my experience, when a provincial government gets involved in post-secondary the results are usually not good. The crisis of 2007–2008 under Graham is the most obvious example. But that was only different in degree. Universities are always being pressed to be “responsive to industry” etc. etc. Perhaps, as you suggest, useful intervention might be possible, but it would have to look very different from anything we have seen for the last number of years. In an ideal world, funding would be adequate and administrations would be accountable to their faculties. Call me a crazy dreamer …

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