NDP Caucus News Release
John Holm, MLA (Sackville Cobequid)
July 21, 1997
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN ON DECENTRALIZING JOBS, SAYS
NDP critic John Holm says Economic Development Minister
Manning MacDonald's announcement that he will look at
decentralizing government to create jobs in high unemployment
regions of the province is further proof that the Liberal
government is out of new ideas.
"Since 1988 the Liberals have been advocating
decentralization of provincial government jobs to Cape Breton,"
said Holm. "They've had over four years in power in which to
begin that process and they've done nothing.
"Last March, when unemployment in Cape Breton hit 27 per
cent, former Economic Renewal Minister Richie Mann said he wanted
to talk about decentralizing jobs to Cape Breton. John Savage and
Guy Brown told him to keep his mouth shut, and we didn't hear
another peep out of him on the subject."
"Now Manning MacDonald says it's alright to talk about
decentralization again, but surely the time for talking is long
past. We need action."
Holm pointed out that in 1994 the Liberals endorsed the
decentralization of 250 jobs to Cape Breton in the short term,
followed by a strategy aimed eventually at having 20 per cent of
provincial government jobs located on the Island. Despite that
promise, Cape Breton has just over 10 per cent of provincial
jobs, even with the recent transfer of municipal social services
staff to the provincial payroll.
"The figures show clearly that talk is cheap, but what Nova
Scotians need is a plan," said Holm. "The plan must result from
consultations between government, the Nova Scotia Government
Employees Union and other public service unions.
"If the Liberals are sincere about using decentralization to
get more sustainable, secure jobs to Cape Breton and other high
unemployment areas, they'll go about it in the right way. That
must include getting the support of government employees."