Slade de­cries lack of budget con­sults in CBN re­gion

The Compass - - NEWS -

Op­po­si­tion Fish­eries and Aqua­cul­ture Critic Sam Slade is ques­tion­ing why the provin­cial govern­ment has ne­glected to sched­ule pre-budget con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions in his district of Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace, or any­where in the Con­cep­tion Bay North re­gion. Slade was re­spond­ing to the re­vised set of dates sched­uled by the Depart­ment of Fi­nance.

“Res­i­dents in this area have al­ways had an op­por­tu­nity to present their con­cerns di­rectly to govern­ment at one of many pre-budget con­sul­ta­tions in the past,” said Slade. “How­ever, this year the min­is­ter has un­ex­pect­edly de­nied them that op­por­tu­nity.”

Slade noted that hear­ings are also not be­ing held in the district of Trin­ity-Bay de Verde, which is rep­re­sented by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Char­lene John­son, or in the neigh­bour­ing district of Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s.

“Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties play a cru­cial role in driv­ing the econ­omy of our prov­ince. They should be given ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to make sub­mis­sions to govern­ment on the next provin­cial budget,” added Slade. “In­stead, the min­is­ter is lim­it­ing con­sul­ta­tions to just nine of the big­ger cen­tres in the prov­ince.”

Slade, who was elected in a by­elec­tion in Novem­ber, has been hear­ing from com­mu­nity lead­ers through­out Con­cep­tion Bay North who were an­tic­i­pat­ing that pre-budget con­sul­ta­tions would be com­ing to the area.

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions are on­go­ing, with the fi­nal meet­ing sched­uled for Feb. 24 in St. Anthony. Meet­ings were also schedued for Stephenville, Cor­ner Brook, St. John’s, Gan­der, Grand Falls-Wind­sor, Labrador West, Happy Val­ley- Goose Bay, Marys­town, Clarenville and Spring­dale.

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