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Time for the Premier to lead, not vacation with Trudeau, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy expressed his sympathy to the men and women who will be losing their jobs at the Picadilly mine.

“This is a huge loss for the workers at the mine, the people of Sussex and surrounding areas and, New Brunswick in general,” Cardy said. “My thoughts are with all those affected.”

Cardy criticized Brian Gallant for being in Switzerland and not in the province to offer support.

“It’s unfortunate that Brian Gallant is socializing over in Switzerland and not here doing what New Brunswickers elected him to do: lead.”

“Mr. Gallant should not have gone to Switzerland with his federal buddies,” Cardy criticized. “He should be in Sussex right now, ensuring these hard working men and women that his government is going to helping them figure out what is next.”

Cardy said Gallant should be in Sussex working with the communities to develop retraining programs. He also said the same should be done for workers coming back from out west.

“Brian Gallant likes to say governing is about choices,” Cardy said. “It’s completely unacceptable that he made the choice to be in Switzerland at this time.”

Covered Bridge situation shows need for first contract legislation, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy repeated his party’s call for the introduction of first contract legislation for New Brunswick workers, saying that the strike at Covered Bridge Potato Chips in Hartland highlights the need for such legislation.

“All employees who democratically opt to form a union ought to have the right to negotiate a first contract, as is the case in most jurisdictions,” said Cardy. “The strike at Covered Bridge is ultimately the product of the government’s unwillingness to pass such a fundamental law.”

Along with expressing support for the right of Covered Bridge’s employees to a union contract, Cardy also pointed out that both Liberal and Conservative governments have provided public cash to the company, another case of corporate welfare. Between the Liberals and Conservatives, the company has received $382,000 in corporate handouts.

“It is bad enough that the Liberals and Conservatives continue to spend tax dollars on private companies, but when it is given to a company involved in a dispute with its own workers, the problem is much worse.”

Cardy to Gallant: explain Dr. Cleary’s firing now

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is calling on Premier Gallant to say whether he knew of and permitted the firing of the Eilish Cleary as Chief Medical Officer.

“Who authorized the suspension and the subsequent firing? Did Premier Gallant know about these decisions and, if so, when?”

“Dr. Cleary and New Brunswickers deserve answers to very basic questions,” Cardy said. “Last week this was a human resources issue. This week there are no issues with her work. A reasonable person could assume that there is an effort to silence her.”

“It has been twenty four hours since Dr. Cleary was fired without cause,” Cardy said. “It is convenient that Premier Gallant is eight thousand kilometres away taking in the sights in Paris, but New Brunswickers deserve answers and leadership now.”

“The NDP is calling for a fully independent and in depth investigation into why and how Dr. Cleary was fired.” Cardy concluded, “This is not a typical human resources issue no matter how much the government tries to spin it as one. The independence of our Chief Medical Officer, and the respect elected officials show for that independence, is a principle that must be protected. The Premier and his cabinet have failed to defend that principle. There will be a chilling effect on civil servants as a result.”

“What the Premier knew, and what he did once he knew it, is not a ‘human resources issue’. It is an issue of public trust and deserves public answers.”

NDP calls for immediate independent investigation into firing of Dr. Cleary

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is demanding an immediate independent investigation into the firing of Dr. Eilish Cleary as Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“The Gallant Liberals campaigned on ensuring the independence of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. I don’t think anyone thought that meant firing her. The Liberals are silencing New Brunswick’s most prominent government scientist. We cannot expect civil servants to do their job when even prominent public officials like Dr. Cleary are muzzled.”

“I have been told by a senior source that Dr. Cleary is being fired to make sure she is not around to criticize the government’s anticipated embrace of the shale gas industry, in the spring of 2016. The Liberals used Dr. Cleary’s work on shale gas to justify their first flip flop on fracking, now they need her out of the way before they flip flop right back again.”

Cardy called for an independent investigation to answer the following questions:

• The Department of Health said Dr. Cleary’s November 4th suspension was an HR matter. Why is the government now saying she was fired because her “skill set does not meet the needs of her employer”?
• Was the November 4th suspension of Dr. Cleary an effort to build a case for a decision that had already been made?
• Did Minister Boudreau or Premier Gallant authorise Dr. Cleary’s suspension?
• Did Minister Boudreau or Premier Gallant authorise Dr. Cleary’s firing?

“Silencing scientists played a major role in the recent federal election. It is shameful that New Brunswick Liberals are behaving like Harper Conservatives. Politicization of the public service has already done deep damage to our province. Today the people of New Brunswick should settle for nothing less than the reinstatement of Dr. Cleary as Chief Medical Officer of Health,” said Cardy.

Cardy sees potential benefits for province from new federal government

FREDERICTON – Following the election of a federal Liberal government and after the federal Throne Speech, New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy sees areas of benefit for our province in the Liberals’ election platform.

“There are promises in the Trudeau platform that relate to provincial-federal cooperation and that speak to concerns raised by the NDP. We hope a change of government in Ottawa might generate action on these files here in New Brunswick,” Cardy said.

Specifically, the NDP calls on the Gallant government to act on the following sections from the Liberal platform:

• Develop a pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation, and will improve access to necessary prescription medications, and join with provincial and territorial governments to buy drugs in bulk, reducing the cost Canadian governments pay for these drugs, and making them more affordable for Canadians.

• Help those receiving Employment Insurance get the training they need to rejoin the workforce, we will invest $500 million more each year in provincial and territorial Labour Market Development Agreements.

• Help those who do not qualify for Employment Insurance or are not currently employed, we will invest an additional $200 million in training programs led by the provinces and territories.

• Work with provinces, territories, and post-secondary institutions to develop or expand Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs. This will provide up to $10 million per year to help young Canadians gain the skills they need to enter high-demand trades.

Cardy said these federal Liberal promises could do much to start the process of ensuring cheaper access to prescription drugs and skills training in New Brunswick.

“Reducing drug costs, a major source of growth in healthcare costs, and providing new opportunities for existing and future workers to upgrade their skills are two areas where action is needed. We need to reform EI so it’s a bridge back to work, not an entry point for dependency on government,” Cardy said.

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