As the House of Assembly resumed for the Spring Session, NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) had strong words for government’s approach to employment. Not only is government harming the economy by laying people off, she says, but its lack of planning and action means the situation will be even worse.
“Last fall’s fiscal update projected the provincial unemployment to rise to 19.6 per cent by 2019, up six points from the current rate. The Way Forward document, government’s ‘vision for sustainability and growth’ sets targets for just about everything except jobs,” Michael said in the House today.
“Can we assume that the drastically increased unemployment rate is the jobs target of this government?”
Michael contrasted the actions (or lack of same) taken by the Newfoundland and Labrador government with those taken in Alberta, another provincial economy dependent on revenues from the oil industry. “The government of Alberta didn’t lose its nerve in the face of tough economic circumstances. Their budget was called the Alberta Jobs Plan and they are now projected to lead the country this year in economic growth,” she said.
“I ask the premier, where’s the Newfoundland and Labrador Jobs Plan?” Michael wanted to know as well how many indirect and induced job losses will occur in the private sector as a result of ongoing government actions such as the termination last week of 287 non-bargaining unit positions in the public service.