NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says the Liberal’s Budget 2016 seems designed to deliberately make life harder for people everywhere in the province. For those in Labrador, he says, life could become even more challenging.
“Measures like getting rid of the Home Heating Rebate program and the GST rebate and adding on a regressive income surtax will hit lower-income people everywhere in the province,” he said today.
“In Labrador, they have to deal with losing some very specific programs that helped make life more affordable.”
The Liberal budget eliminated the Air Foodlift Subsidy program, which helped reduce the costs of nutritious, perishable foods in the coastal communities. It shortens the coastal marine shipping season. The Labrador Building Materials Rebate is also almost entirely eliminated and ArtsNL’s Labrador Cultural Outreach Office and travel fund is gone.
The budget also cuts $200,000 of the funding to clean up PCB contamination in Hopedale and eliminates the Supreme Court in Wabush. It doubles the cost of medical travel and increases ferry rates by 40 per cent. These measures disproportionately affect residents of Labrador, particularly coastal Labrador.
“Lorraine Michael and the caucus fought long and hard last year to ensure Labrador retained its four-seat representation in the House of Assembly. Unfortunately, it seems the four Labrador backbenchers aren’t doing much to stand up for the people they represent in St. John’s,” said McCurdy.
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