Lo­cal MHA sug­gests pre­mier shrink cabi­net

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Steve Crocker is the MHA for Trinity – Bay de Verde and the op­po­si­tion MHA re­spon­si­ble for Busi­ness and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment

Pre­mier Davis can also save money by trim­ming his cabi­net from 15 min­is­ters to 12, im­me­di­ately sav­ing over a mil­lion dol­lars an­nu­ally. Cur­rently, New Brunswick op­er­ates with just 12 cabi­net min­is­ters.

Back in Novem­ber, the Pre­mier sounded the alarm on the need for fis­cal pru­dence due to the plum­met­ing price of oil and the im­pact on the pro­vin­cial deficit, which is now fore­cast at close to a bil­lion dol­lars.

Gov­ern­ment an­nounced an im­me­di­ate freeze on dis­cre­tionary spend­ing and said hir­ing will be based on “crit­i­cal needs.” With our prov­ince fac­ing such a fis­cal cri­sis, the Fi­nance Min­is­ter has al­ready ad­mit­ted that spend­ing cuts are in­evitable. Pre­mier Davis has said, “All op­tions are on the ta­ble”, with the ex­cep­tion of the multi-bil­lion dollar Muskrat Falls Project. If all op­tions are in­deed on the ta­ble, the Pre­mier only has to look at his own cau­cus to find im­me­di­ate sav­ings.

Gov­ern­ment would save $135,180 an­nu­ally just through elim­i­nat­ing par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries. Par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries as­sist a spe­cific cabi­net min­is­ter as the Min­is­ter di­rects, and the job is filled by an MHA. The Davis Gov­ern­ment has five of them, the max­i­mum num­ber al­lowed un­der our pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion, plus a Sec­re­tary to the Par­lia­men­tary As­sis­tant to the Pre­mier. Nova Sco­tia, Prince Ed­ward Is­land and New Brunswick do not have par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries.

Pre­mier Davis can also save money by trim­ming his cabi­net from 15 min­is­ters to 12, im­me­di­ately sav­ing over a mil­lion dol­lars an­nu­ally. Cur­rently, New Brunswick op­er­ates with just 12 cabi­net min­is­ters.

This gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to preach fis­cal re­straint, but has yet to pro­duce any real mean­ing­ful fis­cal changes. Par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries are just one fi­nan­cial bur­den that can be im­me­di­ately elim­i­nated and cabi­net min­is­ters should also be re­duced. It’s clear that the pre­mier lacks the courage to look in­side his own cau­cus to find sav­ings. When times get tough, a real leader should turn the ta­bles in­ward when look­ing for fi­nan­cial sav­ings be­fore ask­ing the peo­ple of the prov­ince to go with­out.

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