Question Period (05.02.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KIRBY:Mr. Speaker, government’s own White Paper on Public Post-Secondary Education underscored the need to increase high school completion rates in Innu, Inuit and Coastal Labrador communities. We all know this can only be addressed through consultation with those who are directly involved and affected.

Who did this government consult before deciding to cut College of the North Atlantic Adult Basic Education programs in the communities of North West River, Rigolet, Hopedale and Nain?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Our track record on investing in post-secondary education is certainly open for discussion, and I am very proud to stand and talk about it. We have made significant investments in this Province over the last ten years to help individuals leave high school and further their education, and for those who have not obtained a high school diploma during the regular process to invest in Adult Basic Education.

In the current process, Mr. Speaker, we will continue to invest in Adult Basic Education because the opportunities on the horizon for people in this Province are unprecedented. Today, individuals who have a high school education behind them have the world in front of them. They can do literally anything they want right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the process that we are going through today in this Province, Mr. Speaker, is making sure that the investments we are making in Adult Basic Education and other programs in this Province is aligned with that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.

MR. KIRBY: Mr. Speaker, back in 2007, well before government decided to cut Employment Assistance Services in Labrador, the PC government announced the Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador with much fanfare. This plan for Labrador committed to increasing career, employment and labour market services staffing in Labrador to help train, attract and retain a labour force sufficient to meet Labrador’s needs.

Can the minister tell us how this government has increased career employment and labour market services in Labrador since that strategy was released in 2007?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I understand the member was not in the House in the last couple of sessions, and fair enough, so he would not necessarily be aware of some of the tremendous investments that we have made in Labrador to support education. I can remind him of one in particular, some $33 million through Nalcor for the Aboriginal training partnership, Mr. Speaker, which provides an opportunity for people in Labrador to avail of training support, to gain the skills and the experiences that they need to avail of the tremendous opportunities available in Labrador and on the Island part of the Province, Mr. Speaker, because of the investment this government has made in the economy.

We have also, Mr. Speaker, invested significantly in the College of the North Atlantic in Labrador for the same reason, because this government, for the first time in many governments, this government recognizes the opportunities available to the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and we are supporting them in that.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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