Davis Calls on Premier to Appoint a

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Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016


For Immediate Release




Davis Calls on Premier to Appoint a Labrador MHA as a Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs




Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, is calling on Premier Dwight Ball to appoint a Member of the House of Assembly from Labrador to serve as Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs‎.


"Labradorians and Aboriginal people in this province do not have a representative in the provincial Cabinet from Labrador with the sole responsibility of focusing on, and advocating for, the issues that matter to Labradorians and Aboriginal people in this province - and we saw some of the evidence and consequences of that major oversight during the past week," said Davis.


"The Premier insisted on absorbing the Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs portfolio‎ into his own office along with all his other responsibilities as Premier, but clearly, that approach isn't working. While tensions have escalated and spilled over in Labrador and in Aboriginal communities and word is spreading across the country in recent days, the Premier has been absent, silent and not engaged at all with Labradorians or with Aboriginal communities crying out to be heard. That's just not acceptable," said Davis.


"All four of Labrador's MHAs sit in the Premier's caucus, and two of them - Members who have been in his caucus for many years‎ - have a great deal of experience and a better ability to connect with their fellow Labradorians as well as with Aboriginal people in their region and in our province generally. These Members have been shut out at a time when their contribution is badly needed," he said.


"The crisis that erupted during the weekend has a great deal to do with the government's failure to communicate‎ and the people's sense that no one in authority is listening or speaking up for them. The absence of a Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Minister while tensions escalated only made matters worse. There has clearly been a major breakdown of communication and trust since the Premier took on this portfolio," he said.


"Let's also not lose sight of the fact that the Liberal federal government is leading the country into a period of reconciliation with Aboriginal people throughout Canada, and it would surely signal our province's commitment to reconciliation and healing to have a Minister in this province who is dedicated ‎to that portfolio, focused on doing a much better job of listening to Aboriginal people, and responsible for advocating for their unique concerns and perspectives around the Cabinet table. The Premier is clearly not doing an effective job of listening to, and advocating on behalf of, Aboriginal people or Labradorians while juggling his other activities," said Davis.


"This portfolio is too important to be shuffled off to one side. It needs a Minister who can take it on full time. A Minister is just the beginning of what Labradorians and Aboriginal people need done differently by this government, but it's an important first step and one worth taking sooner rather than later. So I'm challenging Premier Ball to appoint a Labradorian to the Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs portfolio and begin the process of engaging with people directly and meaningfully on the many issues of concern to them.


"Why doesn't the Premier do it today?"








Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition,


(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca


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