Do the math
Opposition alleges province spending less on disabled Islanders than it promised to
Government promised more money for disabled Islanders and is actually spending less, the Opposition alleged Tuesday.
Opposition MLA James Aylward pointed to a line item in the Department of Family and Human Services budget, which seems to show government is prepared to spend less money on the disability support program (DSP) than it did last year.
One of Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s election promises was to increase funding for the DSP. The program assists Islanders living with a disability to overcome barriers and live as independently as possible.
The line item indicates that government forecast it would spend $13,115,800 in 2014-15 but only estimates spending $12,605,900 this year.
Approximately1,500 Islanders are currently getting help through the program.
“Looking at the budget numbers compared to what they forecasted and estimated, there is a fairly significant variance,’’ Aylward said. “They made it a major issue and said they were going to have another $550,000 there but yet when I look at their current budget line, the money is simply not there.’’
Health Minister Doug Currie contends his department has not cut funding to disabled Islanders.
Currie said it’s just a matter of moving the money around in conjunction with promises made. Those promises included increasing funding to home renovation programs that help lowincome Islanders and families, as well as Islanders living with a disability.
Currie specifically mentioned money has been reallocated to help pay for housing support provided by community partner groups.
“It’s going up significantly,’’ Currie said.
However, the Opposition was quick to point out that not every DSP client gets housing support.
Aylward said Currie is just spinning the truth.
“It’s a lifeline for many people. If (the money) is not there people are really going to feel it.’’