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Cardy urges Gallant to consider wellbeing of students in early Immersion announcement.

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is urging the government to evaluate the needs of students and teachers before restoring grade one immersion.

“Today’s announcement, within weeks of the government releasing an education plan saying that they were going to trust teachers, shows that Premier Gallant has ignored the advice of every elected English school district and every English teachers union in the province”

“Before the removal of early immersion half of rural schools, 98 percent of students with special needs and 80 percent of the poorest students in this province didn’t receive or participate in French immersion. Since the removal of the grade one entry point, English provincial literacy rates have increased and students from rural schools and the most vulnerable families in New Brunswick have received the opportunity to enrol in French immersion. After delivering one of the biggest cuts to education in the provinces history, Premier Gallant needs to ensure that immersion isn’t just a program for elites or we will make the language divide worse, not better”

“I sincerely hope that moving the entry point for Immersion back to grade one enhances New Brunswick’s education system. I remain skeptical as we have yet to see a comprehensive plan from this government to actually move towards early immersion. I fear that this is another of one of many empty announcements from this government, rather than a plan to improve New Brunswick’s education system in the interest of students” said Cardy.

New Democrats call for action following release of report on Early Childhood Education

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick New Democratic Party leader Dominic Cardy called for action on early childhood education following the final report of the New Brunswick Child Care Review Task Force.

Cardy said, “The report contains good ideas and goals, but few details on how to make them real. New Brunswick lacks affordable, quality child care and every day more parents are choosing to abandon their jobs because they can’t find or afford child care and more kids are being left behind.”

The NDP has called for the creation of a high-quality, universally accessible, early childhood education program.

Cardy said, “The report recommends refusing licenses to for-profit centres. That will make it harder for parents and kids, especially in more rural parts of our province, which contradicts the call for additional support for ‘vulnerable’ centres. Let’s stop worrying as much about the governance of each centre and focus on the quality of education and support for educators, parents, and children.”

Cardy said, “Early childhood educators play a crucial role in the life of our children. We need to create a full professional association for early childhood educators with a timeline, budget, and commitment from government to expand educational opportunities for early childhood educators. The NDP strongly supports the recommendation to ‘Establish a certification process for early childhood education that includes competencies for credentials for educators and directors/operators’”.

The NDP is calling for a strengthening of the one-year program offered by community colleges and the creation of a two-year program that includes flexible distance options.

“The Gallant government cut $1.9 million dollars from owner-operated early childhood education centres in 2015. They said that money would be replaced with a new and better programme. We haven’t seen that program. This report is fine, but the parents and children of New Brunswick need action,” Cardy said.

In wake of shale gas moratorium extension, Cardy stresses need for independent regulator

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said the indefinite extension of the shale gas moratorium means the Liberal government is ducking the hard questions about resource industries in New Brunswick. Cardy is again calling for the creation of an independent regulator for natural resource projects.

“The provincial shale gas commission’s report recommended a single regulator for the industry,” Cardy said. “The NDP’s 2014 platform called for an independent regulator for all natural resource projects. The environment is too important to be toyed with by Liberal and Tory governments. Are the Liberals going to act on the report’s recommendations or just sit back and wait for another resource boom and another resource controversy.”

Cardy said an independent regulator based on the US Environmental Protection Agency would mitigate the risks posed by potential projects as it would remove politics from the equation.

“Too many times in New Brunswick we have seen Liberal and Tory governments play politics with our forest, our water and our environment in general,” Cardy said. “An independent regulator would put the brakes the political use of our resources.”

“This is the ideal time to get the work done, and done right, when it comes to natural resource policy around the oil and gas industry. Set the rules, make it clear that our government will always protect public safety, and make it clear that if our resources are used we expect our fair of the profits to reinvest in our most important resource: our people.”

We won’t float your boat, New Brunswick tells Liberals: sink the Groupe Océan deal, stop corporate welfare

FREDERICTON – Following revelations by Radio-Canada that New Brunswick tax dollars will be used to build a dry dock that will operate in Quebec, NDP Leader Dominic Cardy called for an immediate suspension of the deal between the Government of New Brunswick and the Bas Caraquet shipyard, pending a full review of corporate welfare programs by the Auditor General. The Auditor General has called for such an examination in her annual report, a recommendation ignored by the Gallant Liberals.

“New Brunswick can’t afford to float the Liberals’ boat any longer,” said Cardy. “Spending $13 million dollars –and probably a whole lot more by the time we’re finished- to build a dry dock that will operate, permanently, from Quebec, is inexplicable, irresponsible, and just plain dumb. This government is addicted to corporate welfare. It has to stop before we find ourselves trapped into spending more and more money we don’t have to give to companies from other provinces.”

The original proposal was that the shipyard be built at a cost of $29 million and leased for 20 years to Groupe Océan. With the shipyard insolvent the government agreed to fund the construction of the dry dock and assume ownership of the yard.

“We are paying Groupe Océan to build them a dry dock that will then, literally, sail away. The costs: all ours. The profits: all theirs. This has to stop.”

The NDP has long called for an end to all direct subsidies to specific businesses, citing the billions spent on failed economic development schemes and their failure to create jobs or opportunity for New Brunswickers.

Liberal shipyard a floating Atcon, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy says the Liberal government’s decision to bail out and buy a failed shipyard project is the last thing New Brunswick taxpayers need.

“The province is firing teachers and squeezing the healthcare system. More and more New Brunswickers are looking for work. The Liberals’ response is to sink $40 million we don’t have into a shipyard that’s already failing.”

“The province is going to hire private-sector managers to make the shipyard a success,” Cardy said. “It makes no sense. If it was viable the private sector would already be making ships in Caraquet.”

“Brian Gallant has to start answering,” Cardy said. “What happens if the federal government sees that the project is not viable? Who is going to purchase these ships? How can you justify throwing $40 million at an already failed project when too many of our workers lack the skills they need to get a job? Those workers are betrayed by decisions like this. This is why people are leaving our province.”

Cardy said, “If we’re serious about keeping young people in New Brunswick let’s sink this boatyard boondoggle and replace the three cancelled tax credits for university students. Those canceled credits helped 41,000 New Brunswickers. This shipyard plan benefits no one.”

“It’s time for Mister Gallant to wake up,” Cardy said. “New Brunswickers remember his party wasted $70 million on Atcon. The Premier needs to look at fifty years of failed economic development projects and say you know, maybe that whole Bricklin-Atlantic Yarn-Atcon thing, that whole model, just isn’t working.”

“Every program that the government said they had to cut to make room for the Tuition Bursary announcement, put together, cost less than the ship yard,” Cardy said. “They could have kept all three cancelled tax credits that benefit 41,000 NBers for what the shipyard cost.”

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