Eddie Joyce, MHA for the District of Bay of Islands, says he is upset that
Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan scheduled all upcoming pre-budget
consultations during the daytime, a period that will not permit the majority
of people to participate in the process.
"It is very disappointing that
the minister scheduled the pre-budget consultations during a period that
will not permit maximum participation of the population," said Mr. Joyce.
"This once again demonstrates that this process is nothing more than a
public relations exercise of this government, and the minister has no
intention of following the recommendations of the people of the province.
"There are many upcoming issues of great concern to the people in western
Newfoundland. Health care workers in Corner Brook are very concerned about
anticipated cutbacks to the health care system. I have received several
phone calls from employees who want to participate, but are upset that the
pre-budget consultation scheduled for Corner Brook will take place in the
morning. This will not allow these workers, people who will be completing
their shifts, to attend and raise their concerns. Municipal leaders and
business people have also expressed their concerns to me. They have
important issues that they would like to address, but once again cannot
attend morning meetings that interfere with their jobs.
When the federal government held their COSEWIC meetings throughout the
province, the provincial government said it was unacceptable to hold
meetings during the daytime when people were working. Now, when they are
presented with the same situation, the minister organizes meetings in the
same way, a timeframe that will encourage minimum participation. This
approach is very hypocritical. If this minister was truly committed to the
pre-budget consultation process he would have set the meetings during the
evening. Unfortunately, this has not been done and once again proves this
process is nothing more than a sham."