NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael focused on post-secondary education today in the House of Assembly’s Question Period. Tweets and media interviews by the Minister of AES attacking Memorial University’s administration have drawn national attention to the financial and infrastructure challenges facing the university. The minister recently indicated his concerns about the privatization of Adult Basic Education; concerns the NDP caucus has been vocal about since the previous government first took ABE out of the College of the North Atlantic.
“The Minister of Advanced Education and Skills and Labour’s inflammatory public comments and mudslinging about Memorial University has put the university community in turmoil,” Michael said in the House of Assembly today.
“I ask the Premier, does he endorse his minister’s belligerent tactics in dealing with the university?”
Michael also pointed out that Memorial had a plan to deal with budget cuts from previous years, and was blindsided by the new cuts in this year’s budget.
“Last year government accepted a multi-year funding plan presented by Memorial University. In Budget 2017, government decided to cut MUN’s operating grant by an additional $3 million annually,” she said.
“I ask the Minister of Finance why there was a much larger than expected cut to the university in budget 2017?”
Michael then asked the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills when he would reinstate the ABE program to the College of the North Atlantic and other public providers. She says the Liberal ministers spend a lot of time complaining about actions of the previous Conservative government and do not yet seem to have grasped that they have the power to change things.