July 24, 2015

McCurdy to government: Don’t privatize parks

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy is blasting government plans to sell off 47 provincially-owned parks. The parks and natural areas were at one time also operated by government, but were turned over to private operators and lease arrangements in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, a government news release announced that the “de-proclaimed” park areas would be available as Crown Lands grants for current operators to purchase at current market value.

“What is the market value of Topsail Beach or access to the salmon river that runs through David Smallwood Park?” McCurdy asked today. “I’m beginning to think this crowd would sell off the Gaff Topsails if they could find a buyer.”

The government news release says operators who buy their parkland will be permitted to expand their operations to other “tourism-related” activities, including developing tourist cabins and resorts. McCurdy says people shouldn’t have to face the prospect of paying resort fees to enjoy the province’s natural areas.

“And what’s next? If the current operators – some of them community organizations – can’t afford to purchase the parks they’ve been operating, do they next go on the open market for any developer to bid on?” McCurdy said.

“When the Liberals tried to do this in the 1990s, people were justifiably outraged. They were forced to backtrack and came up with the compromise of leasing the land. The parks belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and should continue to.”


July 20, 2015

Candidates named in St. John’s West, Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune

New Democratic Party nominations for the November 30 provincial election closed Friday in two districts, says party President Kathleen Connors.

“I am happy to confirm the official nomination of two excellent candidates, both with established records of fighting for ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” said Connors.

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy will be the party’s candidate in St. John’s West. McCurdy was elected party leader at a convention in March of this year. He had been president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers since 1993 until his retirement from the FFAW last November.

Mildred Skinner of Harbour Breton will represent the NDP in Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune. Skinner is widely known in the district as an outspoken fisheries leader and advocate for women’s issues. She has served on numerous fisheries committees, including the Canadian Lobster Council and the professional harvester certification board.


July 17, 2015

Privatized Waterford not the answer: McCurdy

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says a new mental health treatment facility is critical, but privatization of any sort is not the way to go when it comes to vital public services. Yesterday, Liberal Leader Dwight Ball promised to start building a replacement for the Waterford Hospital two years from now, if his party forms government after this year’s election. Ball said the Liberals might resort to “performance based infrastructure.”

In reality, says McCurdy, “That expression is doublespeak for privatized health facilities. A for-profit company would own the hospital, and we would lease it.

“Over and over, that model has been shown to cost governments more. Nova Scotia abandoned the privatized school model a decade and a half ago because of excessive costs; in Ontario, five privatized hospitals ended up costing a billion dollars more than if they’d been government-owned, and the ongoing saga of Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre should be enough to make even Dwight Ball think twice about the model.

“This stuff is not secret. When Auditors General are allowed to look at all the books, they consistently find that private hospitals cost more, not less, and that public money is squandered on profits for corporations.”

McCurdy adds that replacing the Waterford Hospital must be a priority for any government as part of a comprehensive mental health care plan, but it should be done without the extra cost that privatization has been proven to incur.

“The tireless work of activists like our own MHA Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) has shone the light on the importance of mental health,” he said. “Let’s not turn this public concern into a cash cow for a private company at the expense of taxpayers.”


July 17, 2015

Candidates named in Gander, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi

New Democratic Party nominations for the November 30 provincial election closed Thursday in two districts, says party President Kathleen Connors, with two familiar faces running in Gander and St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi.

“I am very happy to say that long-time MHA Lorraine Michael will be the candidate for voters in the new district of St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi, and that Lukas Norman will be running for us in Gander,” said Connors.

Michael was first elected to the House of Assembly as the MHA for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi in 2006, receiving successively larger majorities in 2007 and 2011. In addition to her work as MHA, she served as the party’s leader until March of this year.

Norman, a business manager in Gander, is well-known in the area for his community involvement. He has held several positions on the party executive, and ran as the NDP candidate in Gander in 2011.


July 10, 2015

Premier must fight for healthcare at premiers’ meeting

Newfoundland and Labrador NDP leader Earle McCurdy is calling on Premier Davis to stand up for our health care system.

The Canada Health Accord, which set national standards of care and wait-times, expired on March 31, 2014. In a letter to the premier, McCurdy urged him to address the lack of a cohesive national plan at the upcoming summer meeting of the Council of the Federation.

“Today I urge you to speak up for and defend the health and wellbeing of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Join the other premiers and demand that the Harper government negotiate a new 10-year Health Accord to replace the one that expired last year,” the letter says, in part.

McCurdy says that without a new Health Accord, the country risks the devolution of our internationally renowned Medicare system into a fragmented system where the quality of care people receive depends on where they live and how much money they have.

“Not only has the Harper government failed to renew it; they have replaced it with a per capita Health Transfer. With our rapidly aging and largely rural population, a per capita plan disproportionately affects Newfoundland and Labrador,” he pointed out in the letter.

Newfoundland and Labrador will lose an estimated $491 million over 10 years, and McCurdy wants to know who will pay for the difference.

We’re Hiring

July 10, 2015

NDP opens nominations in Fortune Bay – Cape la Hune and St. John’s West

The New Democratic Party of Newfoundland and Labrador announces the call for candidate nominations in the districts of Fortune Bay – Cape la Hune and St. John’s West for the November 30 general election.

The deadline for nominations is noon on Friday, July 17, 2015. Individuals interested in seeking nomination should contact provincial Party President, Kathleen Connors by email at president@nl.ndp.ca or by phone at (709) 739-6387 prior to the deadline to receive nomination papers.

July 9, 2015

NDP opens nominations in Gander and St. John’s East – Quidi Vidi

The New Democratic Party of Newfoundland and Labrador announces the call for candidate nominations in the districts of Gander and St. John’s East – Quidi Vidi for the November 30 general election.

The deadline for nominations is 12:00pm on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Individuals interested in seeking nomination should contact provincial Party President, Kathleen Connors by email at president@nl.ndp.ca or by phone at (709) 739-6387 prior to the deadline to receive nomination papers.

June 8, 2015

 Short-sighted budget bad for people of province: McCurdy

The damage inflicted on the province by Budget 2015 will take a long time to undo, says NDP Leader Earle McCurdy.Tonight in the House of Assembly, the NDP caucus voted against the budget, saying government unfairly expects lower- and middle-income residents to bear an unfair amount of the weight of government’s bad financial decisions.

“In good times, this government was happy to give tax breaks to corporations and the people who earn most,” McCurdy said today.  “And now that the money has stopped rolling in so fast, the Davis Conservatives have decided to make everyone in the province pay.

“The budget increases the sales tax charged on most purchases, raises fees for numerous government services, and eliminates the HST rebate on home heating prices, adding 10 per cent to the cost of electricity and heating fuel alone. Government is trying to convince us that an HST hike is the fairest way to increase taxes, but let’s not forget that tax reductions a few years ago went  overwhelmingly to high income earners. ”

McCurdy adds the budget will be particularly hard on youth. A cut to Memorial University’s funding means increased living costs for students from outside St. John’s who live in residence, as well as higher tuition for graduate and international students.

This, coupled with reduced job opportunities for graduates because of public service attrition, flies in the face of any Youth Retention Strategy government might devise, says McCurdy.