Eddie Joyce, MHA for the District of Bay of Islands, says government’s
decision to move forward with privately operated dementia units in Corner
Brook is the complete opposite of the Progressive Conservative campaign
promise made in the 2003 election.
In campaign literature, Premier Danny
Williams and Justice Minister Tom Marshall stated that they were committed
to a publicly-funded, publicly-owned and publicly-operated long-term care
facility and dementia units. Yesterday’s announcement to request proposals
from private contractors is the complete opposite of their campaign promise.
"In 2002 and 2003, the premier spoke against public-private partnerships
and stated emphatically that this was the wrong approach," said Mr. Joyce.
"It is very hypocritical that the premier now believes this is the right way
to go. If the premier supported a public-private partnership approach for
this project, the long-term care facility and dementia units could have been
in operation by now. Instead, he decided to play politics with this issue
and is now doing the exact opposite of what he stated he would do. The
premier and Minister Marshall stated that this approach would cost the
taxpayers extra money in the long run, there would be a reduction in
services, and the facility would be profit driven instead of service driven.
I ask them if they still agree with their statements made in 2002-2003.
"Now that government has announced their intentions to have these
dementia units privately run, I am questioning whether the proposed
long-term care facility will also be privately run. This project has not yet
been tendered and the people deserve to know if government will live up to
their commitment for a publicly-funded, publicly-owned and publicly-operated
long-term care facility.
"I am also questioning the position of the Long-term Care Action
Committee who were strongly opposed to privately run facilities when
discussed in 2002-2003. This committee, including the current mayor Charles
Pender, stated that anything less than a publicly run facility was
unacceptable. I wonder if the mayor’s position has changed."