For immediate release
Jan. 9, 2020
NDP appalled by government’s hollow gestures of “collaboration,” lack of meaningful consultation in budget process
NDP Leader Alison Coffin is appalled that government’s idea of “collaboration” on the budget process is to invite Opposition MHAs and Independents, through a public news release, to submit written statements.
“I am surprised, that after all their talk of collaboration, this is what they have come up with,” said Coffin. “The only difference between this year’s announcement and last year’s is they’ve dropped in the word ‘collaboration.’ Government ought to be embarrassed by such a fundamental lack of understanding about how meaningful collaboration actually occurs,” said Coffin.
Since being elected within a minority government, Coffin has been working hard to ensure the priorities of the people of this province are reflected in government’s decisions and budgets. Coffin has proposed legislative changes with minimal budget implications, given suggestions for alternative budget allocations, and proposed creating a Secretariat as a formal means of cooperation.
“Collaboration to us means working together to find solutions to issues and problems that affect us all. It is not informing us of decisions that have already been made shortly before the announcement to the general public. We have been elected to represent the people of this province. The behaviour of this Liberal government suggests they do not respect the will of the people,” Coffin said.
Coffin says, in order for meaningful collaboration to occur, government needs to provide the Opposition with realistic, up to date information and context, so she and her Caucus can make relevant contributions.
Coffin says government has been very cagey with sharing information, often preferring to hide behind solicitor-client privilege, cabinet secrecy, and so on. For meaningful collaboration to occur, all pertinent information needs to be shared.
“How can they expect sensible contributions based on incomplete information?” Coffin said. “Government still hasn’t shared its concrete rate mitigation plan, cost and timing of the potential fixed link, plans for developing Gull Island, to name a few of the big gaps. Government also needs to share their intentions: is there a new target date for a balanced budget, are there any attrition targets, if and when Bay du Nord will actually be sanctioned?”
“The Liberals are in a minority government situation – it’s incumbent on them to invest time in legitimate and meaningful collaboration,” said Coffin. “How about they make time to sit down with us, show us some of the challenges they are facing with developing the budget, and we help them identify possible solutions?”
“We need to know their intent, as a government, with this budget,” said Coffin. “Seems to me their only intent is just to try to stay in power.”
For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or firstname.lastname@example.org.