Tax and spend Liberals

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy calls the Liberal’s so-called balanced economic plan misleading.

The Liberal plan will increase the debt and the deficit, Cardy said. “Yesterday Mr. Gallant announced $250 million in cuts through a Paul Martin-style program review. Today he said his party would increase spending by $300 million in their first year, adding $1.5 billion to the debt over four years.”

“Mr. Gallant has to be clear with New Brunswickers about how he will pay for this new spending. He’s talked about increasing taxes, centralizing power in the Premier’s Office and creating new Crown corporations that will answer directly to him.”

“New Brunswickers can’t wait six years to balance the books,” Cardy said. “The new NDP will balance the books within our first term with a clear plan to quickly reduce the debt by $1.1 billion.”

“Brian Gallant wants to add more to our debt than Shawn Graham. New Brunswick deserves better than the same old tax and spend Liberals.”

Cardy says New Brunswickers can’t trust Liberals and Conservatives on the environment

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy says the Ombudsman’s report on the 2002 Water Classification Regulation law shows why New Brunswick cannot trust the Liberals and Conservatives to protect our environment or to make responsible decisions about resource development.

“The Provincial Ombudsman’s findings show the disregard consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have had for protecting New Brunswick’s water systems,” Cardy said. “For twelve years the old parties have refused to protect water systems and now they are asking the public to trust them with projects like shale gas and the backroom forestry deal.”

“New Brunswick deserves better. That is why the new NDP would put all natural resource projects through our two test policy to determine safety and profitability before granting final approval. The new NDP will create an independent Environmental Protection Agency to oversee this process which will be free from political and ministerial interference allowing our regulatory laws and regulations to work,” Cardy said. “We cannot trust the Liberals and Conservatives to protect our environment or our economy.”

Cardy Calls on Gallant to Announce Plans, not Reviews

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy calls on Liberals to be open about where they will find $250 million in savings.

“Mr. Gallant has gotten an endorsement from Paul Martin, who did not tell voters in 1993 that a Liberal government would embark on wide sweeping cuts,” Cardy said. “If Mr. Gallant knows this review is going to save $250 million, then he should be able to give us the exact numbers. Without the exact numbers how will voters know there will not be more cuts or none at all? Will front-line service jobs be lost? Will cuts be downloaded onto municipalities like the Martin cuts were?

“We have to balance the books but also we have to be clear with New Brunswickers about how it will be done,” Cardy said. “My party has identified more than $300 million in inefficiencies. We will be transparent with voters on where those cuts will be.”

NDP calls for Liberals to take clear stand on shale gas

FREDERICTON – The following is a statement by NDP Leader Dominic Cardy on the many positions of the Liberal party on shale gas.

“Mr. Gallant and his Liberal party need to be honest with the voters when it comes to shale gas. The Liberals who signed the shale gas leases under the previous government are the same Liberals who ran Brian Gallant’s leadership campaign. How can the people of New Brunswick trust Mr. Gallant when he says he will say no to shale gas?”

“The NDP is the only party with a comprehensive policy when it comes to natural resource development. We would submit every natural resource project to a two test rule to determine whether it is safe and profitable.”

The first test would be administered by an independent Environmental Protection Agency, with the costs of the test to be borne by the industry. The agency will decide whether the industry is capable of safe operation, with safety including impacts on human health and the environment, and, if the answer to that question is yes, what requirements the industry will need to meet. If the EPA decides the industry is unsafe the proposal will be rejected.

If the industry’s proposal passes the first test then the costs of implementing the list of conditions set by the EPA would be established by the Department of Finance. A provincial royalty rate would be established above any costs to be borne by the province or industry. If the final price makes the project financially unviable then the industry would not go ahead. The industry would then have to decide if it is ready to bear the cost of safe operations that benefit New Brunswick.

“The government has not proven shale gas meets these two tests. A new NDP government would base natural resource projects on the best interests of New Brunswick and not on the Liberal backroom boys.”

NDP Calls for Chronic Disease Designation for Arthritis

FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick NDP is calling for Arthritis to be officially designated as a chronic disease. NDP Fredericton North candidate Brian Duplessis says this is long overdue given the sheer number of people affected by Arthritis in New Brunswick.

“There are more than 125,000 New Brunswickers who have been diagnosed with a form of Arthritis,” Duplessis said. “By giving it chronic disease designation, it will lead to better awareness and training for family physicians which will ultimately lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment.”

Currently, New Brunswick only recognizes two chronic diseases – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland have already designated Arthritis as a chronic disease. Nova Scotia will officially designate Arthritis as a chronic disease in the coming weeks.

Duplessis believes this is not just a healthcare issue but is also an economic issue for New Brunswick. Arthritis costs the province almost $750 million each year. This includes $297 million in direct healthcare costs and another $445 million in lost labour productivity and disability costs.

“We need to take action now to do what we can help those with this disease and reduce costs to our healthcare system,” Duplessis said.