Friday, 27 April 2012

Melanson questions future of services in rural New Brunswick

FREDERICTON – Liberal MLA Roger Melanson, opposition critic of the newly formed Department of Government Services, is concerned cuts are coming to services for New Brunswickers, particularly in rural areas.

Melanson had his first opportunity to ask questions of its minister, Craig Leonard, during Budgetary Estimates this week.  He is concerned with the lack of answers he received to questions asked about rural areas of the province.   

When Melanson asked specifically if the government had any intention or plans to close any Service New Brunswick offices in the province, the minister refused to answer. 

“This is a concern for us, and it should be a concern for rural New Brunswickers,” said Melanson, the MLA for Dieppe Centre-Lewisville.  “The Alward government clearly has a secret agenda for those living in rural areas of our province.  Now it seems there is the potential for even fewer services to be offered to rural New Brunswickers.

“If there were no plans to close any of these offices, the minister would have said so,” continued Melanson.  “However, his silence on the issue leads me to believe rural New Brunswickers can expect to receive fewer services in the near future.”

Melanson said that time and time again, this government has made decisions that negatively impact the services received by those who live in rural areas of the province.  These measures include closing schools, reducing health care services, and increasing the gas tax. 

Meanwhile, the premier has hired more people to work in his office, and increased his budget.   

“It seems to work two ways with this government,” added Melanson.  “They don’t mind spending taxpayers money on their own personal interests. Instead they are cutting services that affect people who are already hard hit.

“The Alward government needs to be upfront and honest with New Brunswickers and tell them what their plans are for our rural areas,” said Melanson.