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.

Cardy to Gallant: get ready for legal marijuana

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy offered his support for the new federal Liberal government’s platform commitment to legalize marijuana, saying New Brunswick should take immediate steps to prepare for the change in federal law.

“The new federal government has made it clear they will change the law. New Brunswick needs to make sure we are ready: both to take advantage of the opportunities offered by legalization and to mitigate the risks,” Cardy said.

Cardy called for Premier Gallant to prepare for discussions with the federal government around the production, distribution, and taxation of marijuana. He said, “There needs to be a discussion with different departments so we are ready, as a province, when legalization gets the green light.”

“The federal Liberal platform says the marijuana laws will be drafted with the provinces. We encourage the provincial government to look at the experience in Colorado, where, if you adjust based on the relative size of our economy, taxing marijuana under the current HST plus a 15% excise tax would bring in an around $4.7 million in year one and $10.2 million in year two,” Cardy said.

There would be notable savings in law enforcement costs, as 70 percent of drug crimes in New Brunswick are cannabis-related offences. “If we stop treating marijuana users as criminals to a substance most users consume responsibly with a few who will need help, we can free up police resources for coping with much more serious offences,” Cardy said.

Cardy called for the government to prepare for legalized marijuana by introducing breathalyser tests for cannabis and other drugs. “Legal marijuana has to mean responsible marijuana use; we need to see the penalties for drunk driving applied to anyone who gets behind the wheel when intoxicated, no matter the reason.”

Liberals continue to ignore the real problems, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is criticizing today’s Throne Speech, saying Brian Gallant and the Liberals are still willfully ignoring the real issues and wasteful spending in New Brunswick.

“The Liberals are ready to raise taxes on every New Brunswicker. They are continuing to attack teachers and the education system, ensuring that New Brunswick’s children are not getting the world class education they deserve,” Cardy said. “They are promising higher taxes for fewer services.”

“The Throne Speech and the program review shows that only two things are sacred to this government: patronage appointments and corporate handouts,” Cardy said. “Everything else – your job, your child’s education, your retirement savings, your local hospital – is on the table.It’s time for Brian Gallant to stop putting politics first.”

“Every year the government wastes hundreds of millions on handouts to corporations, something the Gallant Liberals are fine with,” Cardy said. “The Liberals have given us Atcon. They have given us the mess with the Bas Caraquet shipyard. Before more taxes and firing teachers, this waste should be targeted as a significant cost-saving measure.”

“Once the money is gone, these companies pack up and leave, if they don’t go bankrupt before that” Cardy said. “The most recent example being the Minacs call centre announcing its closing last week. When will the government stop this short sighted and failed policy of simply handing millions to big corporations?”

“The Liberals have shown that as long as they get to cut ribbons, they’re willing to cut schools, hospitals, social programs and senior care,” Cardy said. “New Brunswick has paid too much for the “politics first, people second” approach of Brian Gallant. We don’t need more of the same.”