Roland Butler, Opposition Human Resources, Labour and Employment Critic and
MHA for the District of Port de Grave, wants government to provide an
explanation of why money allocated for a support program to assist crab
industry workers is not being spent.
"In a June 28th news
release, the Williams government made an announcement of $18 million for a
support program to assist crab industry workers and now there are
indications that only a portion of this money is being spent," said Butler.
"Despite severe hardship being experienced by many people who rely on the
crab industry, less than $4 million of this money has actually been spent.
It is time for the Minister to explain why they are not spending the money
allocated when many people involved in this industry are facing hard times
and many have had to leave the province.
"We should also not forget that this problem was created by an inflexible
Premier who tried to impose his will on a group of independent fishery
workers. The outcome of the Raw Material Sharing plan and resulting strike
were disastrous. Now, after announcing a significant support program to
assist the people in the crab industry, government appears to be holding
back money and not spending the full amount they originally allocated."
The Liberal MHA says that during the crab dispute, opposition MHAs spoke
out about the negative impacts that would be felt throughout the rural
economy. "It was hoped that this program would have softened the blow to
rural areas as a result of the crab dispute. It is to the detriment of rural
Newfoundland and Labrador that government has once again failed to live up
"The real shame is that the hardship being felt in rural areas as a
result of the crab dispute could have been avoided if the Premier had taken
a different approach. With a different approach, the crab industry could
have been a successful revenue generator for the province this year. This
whole episode is another example of how the Williams government has failed
rural areas of this province."