NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is concerned by Finance Minister Tom Osborne’s comments that Steve Winter, former CEO of the NL Liquor Corporation, was let go only because government needed someone in the role who would cut costs and find efficiencies.
Despite the Minister’s repeated remarks referencing the need to find cost savings and implement an attrition model, Michael notes that the NLC is not among the agencies, boards, and commissions that have fiscal issues.
“The NLC is already very profitable. The 2016-2017 NLC Annual Report shows net earnings for 2016-17 at $176.2 million, an increase of 13.4% since the 2013-14 fiscal year,” Michael said.
“What is the Minister basing this decision on, that cutting costs at the extremely profitable NLC is suddenly a top priority?”
Michael says that the Minister references needing a CEO who is ready to lead the NLC through the transition to regulating marijuana, yet doesn’t identify any hurdles or shortcomings regarding Winter and the implementation planning for legalized cannabis thus far.
“It seems disingenuous. Government says they need someone with organizational knowledge, yet they fired the person who has been running the corporation for 14 years,” Michael said. “It seems to me that government didn’t want to be questioned during this transition to regulating cannabis, and is falsely citing finding efficiencies and cost savings as an immediate and justified concern.”