Judy Foote, MHA for the District of Grand Bank and Opposition Critic for the
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, says a recent report
released by the Conference Board of Canada confirms that the provincial
government’s cutbacks in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and their inaction
in creating new employment opportunities, are having a negative impact on
the economy of the province.
"Yesterday in the House of Assembly, Minister
Dunderdale tried to convince the people of the province that she has a plan
for rural development in our province. We have been saying for over 18
months that this government has no plan. Now, a recent report published by
the Conference Board of Canada confirms this government’s inaction is
hurting rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Ms. Foote.
In the Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook - Spring 2005
report, the board says several issues will hurt the economic and employment
growth in the province. Included in those issues identified were
government’s public sector job cuts, teacher cuts, a steadily declining
population base and the end of major construction phases of projects such as
Voisey’s Bay and White Rose.
"This government has still not learned its lesson. You cannot cut jobs
and services in rural parts of our province and expect new development to
occur. People living in rural communities need access to services to remain
in their communities, and government services are vital when attracting new
residents. To date, this government has cut hundreds of public sector jobs
and the services these individuals used to provide. The Conference Board of
Canada has confirmed that this has had a negative impact on our provincial
"In addition, the lack of any strategy to develop new projects in the
province is starting to show. The construction phase of two Liberal
initiatives, White Rose and Voisey’s Bay, are now coming to a close.
Thousands of people will soon be laid off and this government has no plan to
deal with the situation. It is time they brought forward their much touted
but, to date, non-existent strategy to develop rural areas of our province.
Without any new initiatives, the population impact will be even greater on
our communities as people are being forced daily to leave in search of new
"It is also very interesting that the Conference Board of Canada realizes
the impacts that cancelled projects will have on our province. In their
report, they reference the cancelled health care facility that was scheduled
to be constructed in my District of Grand Bank. This is once again another
example that this government is not willing to listen to advice, even if
that advice tells them they should reconsider their decisions that are
having such a negative impact on the people of the province."