Lorraine Michael Question Period (04.16.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I could not believe my ears yesterday when the Premier said what she is not going to do is continue to have waste, extravagance, and poor spending.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: That it was her government's poor spending that did not serve the students of ABE and that it was her government's poor spending that does not provide cancer drugs to people because their government does not have the money. The Premier is admitting that she has not been fiscally prudent or responsible.

Mr. Speaker, I ask then: Why is the Premier now trying to pit one vulnerable group against another vulnerable group?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I remind the Leader of the NDP that when she first came to this House and sat over there as Leader of the Third Party she called on a daily basis for a review of our health care system, because she felt there could be a more effective spending, and a more effective administration of our health care system. We have done that kind of review, Mr. Speaker, and we have done it right across government.

We have found that sometimes departments, without examining programs, without properly auditing programs, old ways of delivery have gone on perhaps too long, Mr. Speaker. Once we did that, we found efficiencies. We can apply the money much better now across the board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I invited the Premier once before, I will do it again, to bring the full report of that core mandate review so we can see the methodology that was used and how they saved the money.

Mr. Speaker, this government has squandered the people's money and now the Premier and some of her ministers have begun referring to needing to have the money to buy new cancer drugs as a reason for the brutal cuts they have inflicted on the public service and the people of the Province. The government has laid off at least four employees in the Provincial Health and Wellness Program. The juxtaposition of those two things, cancer drugs and no money for prevention, having adequate people in the positions does not make sense.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Can she not see the relationship between preventative health care and incidence of disease?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, neither the Leader of the Opposition nor the Leader of the NDP has offered any kind of argument against the positions that we have put forward.

Mr. Speaker, does she believe that we should continue to have over a hundred people in the Whitbourne Youth Centre looking after nine youth? That is the question, Mr. Speaker. If we are spending that kind of money in Whitbourne on ineffective governance of that facility, and if we are paying three times more for ABE programs with a much less success rate than anywhere else in the country, Mr. Speaker, is that what she is advocating here in this House today?

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I invite the Premier to read Hansard later on and discover that my question was actually about preventative health care.

Yesterday, the Premier noted that she required a compelling argument why taxpayers should pay $9,400 per year providing ABE in the College of the North Atlantic. With a recent whopping $1 billion inaccuracy in deficit forecasting, it is clear that this government cannot be trusted with any numbers it throws around.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier if she will provide a detailed breakdown of the cost that leads her to state that $9,400 is the true cost?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, never mind the compelling argument, any argument at all from the Leader of the NDP as to why we should not do these things would be welcome.

Mr. Speaker, I am used to the Leader of the NDP demanding information in this House of Assembly, like she did on the Muskrat Falls debate. When we provided the information, Mr. Speaker, two days later she was out in front of the microphones saying we gave her too much information; she did not have time to synthesize it, Mr. Speaker. So, it does not matter what side of the coin you are on with the Leader of the NDP, she is going to find a way to find fault with it.

Mr. Speaker, we were forecasting a $1.6 billion deficit in this year's Budget. I have told this House time and time again that we would not have a $1.6 billion deficit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier and members of her government are receiving the same letters as the NDP caucus is receiving from single mothers and people living with mental disabilities who describe how important the public ABE program supports are to them. There is no private program that will replace this specialized mental health program.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Why is she attacking vulnerable people in the Province who, without government support, will remain on income assistance?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we have almost 1,000 people in the CNA program. We have 1,000 people who received the ABE program through other delivery sources in this Province at a much higher success rate. We have all of Atlantic Canada to compare the ABE program to. Surely the same challenges exist in Nova Scotia, in New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, yet they are able to deliver their program at a maximum cost of $2,300, as low as $1,200 per person, per head, and the Leader of the NDP is going to stand up here and argue in the House of Assembly that we should have our ABE program delivered only in the sites of the College of the North Atlantic, not in extra sites we could do with these savings for our (inaudible).

Associated Caucus Members: 

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