Roland Butler, Opposition Human Resources, Labour and Employment Critic and
MHA for the District of Port de Grave, has written Minister Joan Burke
asking her to become involved and survey the impact of the high fuel prices
on the volunteer sector in this province.
"I have spoken out on this
serious issue several times, but I have not heard or seen any response from
the Minister. As a result, I have decided to write her directly on this
matter in the hope that she will not continue to ignore what I see as a very
serious problem," said Butler. "Some of the most vulnerable in our society
are being affected and the Minister must become involved and direct the
officials in the department to assess the impact."
Butler says that high energy prices are seriously impacting the ability
of not-for-profit organizations to provide services to many areas of the
province. "It is time for the Minister to do a comprehensive assessment of
what these impacts are and to implement a plan to deal with the serious
problems which are emerging. She should take responsibility for this
situation and move fast to deal with it before it becomes worse. High fuel
prices are limiting the ability of organizations to purchase goods and
provide transportation for school meal programs, seniors, food banks and
other community service activities. Many of these programs operate on a
fixed budget and they have no ability to deal with the unexpected increase
in fuel prices. Without immediate action by government, the services
provided by these groups may be reduced or terminated."
The Liberal MHA has issued news releases in the past demanding that
government take action to address problems being caused by increasing fuel
prices. "The Williams government seems to think it is acceptable to horde
increased tax revenues and increased oil royalties while the most vulnerable
in our society suffer. There are many things this government can do to
alleviate the impacts of high fuel prices and it is time for Minister Burke
to personally get involved and deal with the crisis facing not-for-profits
in this province."
The Liberal Opposition has been calling on the Williams government to
come forward with a comprehensive plan to deal with drastically increased
fuel prices and a long-term energy plan for the province. Ambulance and
school bus operators are just two groups who have recently spoken out about
the negative impacts that high fuel prices are having on their ability to
provide services to the people in the province.