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Cuts to arts and culture short-sighted and should be reversed, Cardy says

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is calling on the Liberal government to reverse the cuts to arts and culture announced earlier this month in the budget.

“Arts and culture is one of the most important aspects of our province and by making arbitrary cuts to this sector, Brian Gallant is once again proving that he is governing with no vision for the province,” Cardy said.

“Bill Fraser and the Gallant government have opted to put more money into the bureaucracy of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture instead of funding an ever-growing and ever-inspiring arts and culture industry,” Cardy said.

“Arts and culture is often forgotten as a vibrant piece of our economy,” Cardy said. “Taking this funding away is taking money and jobs out of our economy.”

“Not only do I believe that ArtsNB is better at determining where best to spend the funding,” Cardy said, “I also trust ArtsNB more to help the arts and culture sector create more opportunities and jobs.”

Stop masking Liberal fundraising as economic development

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is criticizing a Liberal fundraising event earlier this week saying that if helping New Brunswick businesses was the goal, then it should have been an open event without the Liberals demanding payment for access.

“Mr. Gallant’s Energy Minister has confirmed that businesses which make big donations to the Liberal Party will be allowed to advance their projects. It raises the question — if businesses can benefit from an event with all four premiers, why shouldn’t we open it to all New Brunswick businesses?”

The four Atlantic Premiers, all Liberals, met in a taxpayer-funded event in Fredericton, and then held a $250-a-plate fundraiser to benefit the Gallant Liberals. Energy Minister Don Arsenault explained that access will benefit businesses, saying “This is a unique opportunity, and if we want to give access to business stakeholders and whatnot to advance their projects, their causes, hey, rightfully so.”

Cardy said “While governments have long piggybacked on public events to raise money, only the Gallant Liberals have been this brazen about their corruption. Ministers are now confirming that businesses which pay off the Liberal Party get access that others do not.”

“If this was really about helping businesses through access to all four premiers, then host a free event for all New Brunswick businesses and stop demanding bribes on the way in the door. Any event where official business is discussed should not have party officials taking payments at the door.”

Mr. Cardy concluded; “I would challenge journalists to ask Premiers McNeil, MacLauchlan, and Ball how comfortable they are headlining an event where cabinet ministers have admitted that they are selling access to advance business projects. As for Mr. Gallant, this is further proof that he only cares about creating jobs with companies that benefit him and his Liberal friends.”

More taxes, more handouts, fewer teachers and no vision, Cardy says of budget

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy says the Liberals are up to their same old tricks when it comes to managing New Brunswick’s economy.

“Brian Gallant is reaching even deeper into the pockets of New Brunswick families again so he can fund huge handouts to his big business friends,” Cardy said. “The NDP would save more money by stopping the hundreds of millions in corporate welfare. The Gallant Liberals prefer to gouge New Brunswickers with more taxes.”

“The Liberals claim to have found $600 million in savings and revenues since taking office,” Cardy said. “But they only reduced the deficit by $150 million – this confirms the Liberals as the same old tax and spend party. Where is the vision for the future? Where’s the help for New Brunswickers struggling to gain the skills they need to get a job, the support for early childhood education so businesses can hire workers stuck at home? That money is gone, wasted on corporate welfare. Now they come back and take more money out of our pockets.”

“To this government, a vibrant private sector means allowing corporations to name government buildings,” Cardy said.

Cardy noted that the budget pushes the provincial debt to over $13 billion and the Liberals continue to put money into a contingency fund for their re-election.

“I’m really worried about Social Development putting a limit on the Health Services program,” Cardy said. “That will negatively affect many people in need.”

“Brian Gallant tells us that we need to make tough choices,” Cardy said. “Instead, this government is taking more from hard working New Brunswick families, continuing its attack our teachers and students, and continuing to hand hundreds of millions in wasted corporate handouts.”

“Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers said last year that raising the HST is the lazy way. I agree.”

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.”