Most of Manitoba’s 10,500 nurses returned to work after 61 per cent of them voted in favor of ending the longest nursing strike in Canadian history. The nurses, who began their walkout on Jan. 1, accepted a settlement that will increase average salaries by between 10 and 13 per cent over two years. But up to 300 nurses at several rural hospitals vowed to stay on the picket line until a better settlement was reached.
British Columbia Premier William Vander Zalm said'that his government will freeze provincial taxes and the wages of politicians and senior public servants as part of a program to fight the effects of the recession. In a televised address to the province, he also said there will be a referendum on native land claims, taxation and constitutional issues at the time of the next provincial election, which he must call before October.
SHADOW CABINET SHAKEUP
Federal Liberal Leader Jean Chrétien shuffled his opposition front bench, naming Hamilton MP Sheila Copps, 38, who ran third in June’s leadership race, as his deputy leader. Herbert Gray, 59, formerly interim leader, became finance critic. Meanwhile, Edmonton MP David Kilgour, 49, who was ejected by the federal Conservative caucus last year over his opposition to the GST, announced that he will sit in the Commons as a Liberal.
Justice Minister Kim Campbell was the first witness before a parliamentary inquiry into last year’s 78-day armed standoff between Mohawks and police near Oka, Que. She described Mohawk Warriors as “an aberration” and said that they do not represent the mainstream of native society. Mohawk representatives later told the committee that the police and military used unnecessary and brutal tactics during the standoff, and complained that Ottawa had ignored their concerns since the crisis ended.
THE PRICE OF PATRONAGE
Documents tabled in the Senate indicated that the rash of new Senate appointees in 1990 will cost taxpayers an extra $4.5 million in the next fiscal year in salaries and administrative expenses. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney filled 16 vacant Senate seats in 1990 and appointed an additional eight senators in a successful bid to guarantee the upper chamber’s approval of the GST.
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