Friday, 2 March 2012

New Brunswick NDP leader Cardy calls Leonard new "Minister of Stationery"



FREDERICTON - New Brunswick’s New Democrats offered congratulations to the newly appointed Minister of Government Services, Craig Leonard, while party leader Dominic Cardy suggested that, “Minister of Stationery might be a more appropriate title for Mister Leonard, seeing as his new position is entirely stripped of policy responsibility.” The new ministry includes semi-autonomous Crown corporations in addition to procurement offices, minimising Leonard’s influence.

Cardy said moving Margaret-Ann Blaney to Energy, “Gives a green-light to fracking. Now we know why the Fraser Institute rated New Brunswick the number one destination for mining companies: they clearly knew about this reshuffle. Minister Blaney is every mining executive’s dream: she is going to be as careful and clear with shale gas development as she was with our wetlands. Great news for bottom-feeding fracking companies like Windsor Energy, terrible news for New Brunswick.”

On the elimination of an independent Environment department Cardy said,“Every province and territory except PEI has an Environment ministry focused on -strangely- the environment. Minister Fitch already has local government reform on his plate, he lost his deputy minister in the reshuffle, and now he is supposed to speak for the environment. This move proves, if we had any doubts, that local government reform and the environment are being pushed to the back of the cabinet.”

The New Democrats applauded the government’s elimination of five deputy minister positions, but repeated calls for further savings. Cardy said,“The Premier’s Office has seen significant growth since Premier Alward came to power; if there needs to be change, change should start at the top.”

New Democrats have proposed eliminating government departments including Business New Brunswick and Invest New Brunswick. Cardy said, “Moving BNB into the new Department of Economic Development shows that when the government talks about reforming corporate welfare they really meant changing the return address on the cheques.”