In Question Period, the NDP Caucus started the spring session by questioning government on its fiscal plan for economic sustainability and missed opportunity for progressive procurement legislation. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says the Premier recently told the NOIA annual general meeting that he would like to see oil production doubled in the next 12 years, a risky plan over which he has little or no control.
“I ask the Premier, what is his plan B for realistically lifting this province out of its economic quagmire?” Michael said.
She continued that the Premier recently wrote the Prime Minister asking for an early start to the Atlantic Accord Review scheduled for completion by the end of March 2019.
“It seems the only revenue generator the Premier anticipates for the province is increased oil production without a long-term fiscal plan,” Michael said. “Why does the Premier think the Prime Minister will pass over more money to NL without seeing a solid fiscal plan for future economic sustainability?”
Gerry Rogers says that last week government released their Public Procurement Act proudly proclaiming it modernized. Unlike many other leading jurisdictions, however, there is no mention in the Act or regulations of either a Social Benefits Clause or the need to consider diversity and gender values when awarding contracts. Government promised to embed these values in the regulations.
“This is a significant missed opportunity! I ask the Minister, why hasn’t she incorporated these values into the Act, or at least the regulations, to benefit the people of NL?”
Rogers says that government is giving a lot of lip service to social enterprise, even unanimously passing a Private Member’s Motion to support it.
“I ask the Minister, will she grab this opportunity to maximize the power of progressive procurement for the benefit for our people, and recall the Act and truly modernize it as has been done in Scotland, Wales and other provinces in Canada?” Rogers asked.
“Will the Minister meet with local social enterprise experts to review and amend the Procurement Act in order to maximize benefits?”