NDP caucus rejects “short-sighted” budget

For immediate release
May 29, 2012

NDP caucus rejects “short-sighted” budget
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) and her caucus voted this evening against the 2012-13 provincial budget.
“The utter lack of vision shown by the government is disappointing,” said Michael, “We could not in all conscience support a budget that doesn’t put the people of this province first.”

In the big picture, says Michael, “Because this government is so focused on Muskrat Falls, I have one question. The question is: As a province, with our history, with the poverty we have had in the past, and with all of the catch-up that we have to do to put programs and infrastructure in place, can we afford to put over $6 billion into this development? Can we afford to build Muskrat Falls and also take care of the people of this province?”

Michael compared the pieces of the budget pie, noting that 12 per cent of the budget is allocated to Nalcor for Muskrat Falls with just 10.8 per cent of total spending earmarked for Education.

“It is a question of priorities,” she said. “If we cannot fulfil our duty to the people of this province now, when we are experiencing a period of untold prosperity, when will it ever be the right time to put in place the things that make life more affordable for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?

“Universal child care, home care, all-day kindergarten, adequate affordable housing – people tell us these are the things they need. When will the government start making choices that work for people?”

Budget debate has been ongoing in the House of Assembly for five weeks. In addition, MHAs have had the opportunity to discuss budget items in more detail during meetings of the three budget committees outside of the House of Assembly.

“That is as close as we get to legislative standing committees in this province,” observed Michael, “and even at that government refused to allow extra time for full discussion of Advanced Education and Skills – about $500 million of spending didn’t get full scrutiny.”

Associated Caucus Members: 
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