News

Liberals fine with transparency as long as you can afford it, says Cardy

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy came out against the possibility that the Liberal government might re-introduce fees for Right to Information requests from the general public, saying such a move would effectively limit access to information to the wealthy.

“Brian Gallant and his Liberals talked about the need for greater transparency and public empowerment in our politics, and yet they are exploring the idea of bringing back charges for citizens to access information about their government that were abolished in 2011,” Cardy said. “To charge citizens for this information is to erect another barrier between the government and the people they are supposed to serve. It is another way to make more New Brunswickers feel disenfranchised and cut off from participating in an informed debate. An NDP government would work to promote greater transparency, not put up fees to restrict it.”

Cardy added that the concern raised by the Liberals that the heavier volume of information requests requires charges to cope speaks to the need for greater transparency all around.

“The amount of information that is available online to citizens in many other jurisdictions about their government is much greater than in New Brunswick. Ensuring that more of this information is accessible without having to resort to submitting Right to Information requests is the best way to reduce the volume of requests, as opposed to pricing such requests beyond the means of many people.”

ANOTHER CALL CENTRE CLOSES, ANOTHER CORPORATE WELFARE FAILURE EXPOSED, SAYS CARDY

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick New Democratic Party leader Dominic Cardy responded to the news that Minacs will be closing its call centre in Bathurst in November as evidence, once again, of the failure of corporate welfare.

“This story is sadly all too common in our province,” Cardy said. “Individuals and families losing their livelihoods is something that happens far too much in New Brunswick, especially under Premier Gallant. Also too common is the fact that these lost jobs were paid for with taxpayers’ money.”

Minacs received a total of $1.5 million in payroll rebates and capital expenditures from the provincial government in November 2011. After only four years, Minacs will be laying off its 70 employees in Bathurst, despite the fact that the corporate welfare giveaways were intended to create 200 jobs.

“Not only do we see tax dollars squandered on jobs that only last four years, but also only one-third of the number of jobs promised were actually realized,” Cardy said.

With Minacs, the amount of squandered corporate welfare money on call centres which have closed is now at $11 million in the last decade. “The Gallant government says it wants to find savings? Start with the $300 million we give away each year to corporate welfare,” Cardy said.

Cardy restated the NDP’s vision for job creation in New Brunswick. “Let’s get government out of the business of picking winners and losers and stop wasted hard-earned tax dollars on corporate handouts. Let’s instead reward all businesses that actually create jobs with a New Jobs Tax Credit, help entrepreneurs by eliminating taxes on small businesses, and improve education and skills training to attract investors. We need to start trusting the ingenuity and talent of our own people to create jobs, rather than buying temporary employment at a cost of hundreds of millions a year.”

When it comes to grabbing more money from taxpayers, Liberals and Tories playing same old politics, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is saying the Liberal and Tories are both the same when it comes to gouging more and more money from New Brunswickers.

“When the Tories increased fees in 2014 Brian Gallant called it a betrayal of the public’s trust,” Cardy said. “Now that he’s in government, Mr. Gallant has no issue with raising fees, even when it’s an additional $8.2 million.”

“As for the Tories,” Cardy said, “it’s no surprise, now that they are in opposition, that they are now condemning the Liberals for doing something they did when in government.”

“New Brunswickers are simply tired of these two old parties saying one thing in opposition and another in government,” Cardy said.

“On top of all the increased fees, many New Brunswickers now also have to travel further to access Service New Brunswick locations because of Liberal cuts,” Cardy said.

“The NDP believes dishonesty in politics is one of the issues plaguing New Brunswick the most,” Cardy said. “Our party has always been honest with New Brunswickers and we’ll continue to do so leading into the next election.”

“Because New Brunswick deserves better.”

Language training cuts at NBCC Miramichi a step in the wrong direction, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is calling on the provincial government to ensure that second-language training courses continue to be offered at the Miramichi campus of New Brunswick Community College, which recently announced it would be eliminating such courses due to declining enrollment.

“For a bilingual province, providing second-language training is a fundamental responsibility of the government,” Cardy said. “If the government requires that certain positions demand the ability to speak and work in both English and French, it is only reasonable that it provide adequate opportunities for all to learn both official languages.”

Cardy added that providing more opportunities for Anglophone New Brunswickers to learn French would do much to improve the linguistic harmony in the province. “Providing universal access to second-language training would better ensure that Anglophones feel a sense of full participation in our project that is official bilingualism,” Cardy said.

Cardy also pledged that providing universal second-language training would be part of a broader NDP emphasis on lifelong learning and skills training. “Language is simply one of many workplace skills that people ought to be given the opportunity to access without undue financial burden,” Cardy said.

“The NDP views language as an essential skill that improves one’s employment opportunities and our larger attractiveness as a province for businesses investment,” Cardy said. “Rather than throwing money at corporate handouts and arenas, spending the modest amounts needed to provide these opportunities to New Brunswickers ought to be a primary function of our government.”

Premier Gallant: Want to avoid a government crisis over $1600? Adopt reverse auction bidding for all contracts, says NDP

FREDERICTON – The recent crisis created by the Liberal government’s signing, and then tearing up, of a $500,000 contract to build snow ploughs, show that change is needed in the way our government runs contracts. Reverse auction bidding offers a better way to protect New Brunswick taxpayers and New Brunswick companies.

New Brunswick New Democratic Party leader Dominic Cardy said, “Reverse auctions are simple: make all bids available for everyone to see, online. Companies can change their bids at any point before the competition closes, making sure New Brunswickers get the most out of every dollar in tax money our government spends. The bidding process should be fully transparent and accessible, and allow companies to see other bids and alter their own bids in real time, to ensure that the best mix of competition and fairness is achieved. This process is used in numerous American states and cities and is a best practice we should adopt here.”

Cardy said: “If Craig Manufacturing had seen that their bid was $1600 higher than the Quebec company who won the contract then Craig’s could have adjusted their price. They could have highlighted the difference in government costs that they felt made their bid the genuine lowest bid.”

Cardy said: “It doesn’t make sense that one local company like Craig’s could lose a huge contract for the sake of $1600 while a company next door could be given millions in government handouts. We need to level the playing field so it’s fair for New Brunswick companies and fair for New Brunswick taxpayers. It’s time to end corporate handouts and time to change the way we do business. Let’s invest in reverse auction bids and save public money.

Because New Brunswick deserves better.”