The following appeared on the Telegraph Journal website on August 27, 2014:
ADAM HURAS Legislature Bureau
FREDERICTON – New Democrat Leader Dominic Cardy says the Liberal pitch to spend $900-million on infrastructure is unacceptable, irresponsible, and a promise this province can’t afford.
Cardy has delivered a scathing attack on Liberal Leader Brian Gallant’s call to open up the province’s cheque book to spend $150 million in each of the next six years on roads and other infrastructure – labelling it little more than a plan to set up New Brunswickers to collect unemployment insurance.
The New Democrat leader’s words follow those of Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward who quipped on Tuesday night that the Liberal plan was both “crazy and scary” – and that Shawn Graham wouldn’t even endorse the jobs math behind the spending.
The Liberal plan is in efforts to create and sustain more than 1,700 jobs a year.
At a first campaign stop in the Fredericton area on Wednesday, Cardy compared the new spending to the infamous Atcon bailouts of the last Liberal government – stating the job payout potentially appears even worse.
“When the last Liberal government spent $70 million to bail out Atcon to protect a few fewer jobs, that didn’t work,” Cardy said. “Today what we see is Mr. Gallant promising to spend 12 times that much money to create 1,700 jobs.
“It doesn’t make any sense. The province cannot afford this.”
Cardy added: “He’s talking about taking over $1,000 from every single New Brunswicker, man, woman, and child, money that we do not have, money that is going on a credit card to create part-time work that will help people get on unemployment insurance.”
The New Democrat leader said the plan essentially sets New Brunswickers up to collect unemployment insurance.
“It’s completely unacceptable that the vision for our province would be so poor, so feeble, that the best that we can hope for from our governments is subsidies for people so they can take part-time work for a few years so they can get on EI,” Cardy said.
“It’s $900-million that we don’t have to be spent on our provinces roads.
“Mr. Gallant’s suggestion this week is one of the most irresponsible things I’ve seen in my time politics.”
Cardy then widened his attack, lumping in the Tory election promise to help top up seasonal workers through a four-year pilot project.
Under that program, seasonal workers in the fisheries industry would see their wages topped up by about $2.00 an hour for up to 14 weeks per year.
“This election, New Brunswickers have a clear choice between a Conservative party and a Liberal party dedicated to using money we don’t have to make it easier for you to get on EI and an NDP that’s talking about a rich, fair, and green province with specific costed promises,” Cardy said. “You can hold us to our word; we’re showing you where the money is coming from.
“Don’t buy the snake oil these guys are selling anymore. We can’t afford it as a province.”
Alward’s attacks on Gallant’s spending plan have been similar.
At his own nomination convention in Woodstock on Tuesday night, Alward questioned Gallant’s plans.
“What other taxes will he raise to pay for his reckless spending announcements?” Alward said. “Yesterday it was to spend $900 million in borrowed funds to create 1,700 short-term jobs. My opponent wants to spend $88,000 per job, per year. That’s both crazy and scary at the same time.
“Even Shawn Graham won’t endorse his math.”
The Liberal $900-million infrastructure plan is a component of the $300 million a year they announced last week to support job creation in the province.
“We have a comprehensive plan to create jobs in the near term, medium term and long term. One of the best ways to do this is through stimulus in the short term, like making strategic investments in our roads and bridges,” Gallant said in making the announcement.