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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Affordability, Honesty, Jobs and Hope for Labradorians

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, NL (May 9, 2019) – PC Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie said Labradorians are telling him they want a government that respects their desire for affordability, honesty, jobs and hope.

Labradorians have told us the cost of traveling away from and back to Labrador for healthcare is ridiculous, so we are removing that cost barrier by changing the Medical Transportation system to allow 100 per cent reimbursement of travel for people who must travel for medical reasons outside their region.

We will develop a more robust return-of-service agreement structure for graduating physicians of the Memorial University Medical School and provide attractive reimbursement packages for those who choose to practise in Labrador.

We will modernize the fee structure so it allows healthcare professionals – including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists – to deliver care when and where people need it.  Innovations like accountable care, virtual care, e-technology and telehealth will improve patient access and patient outcomes.

We will commit to a Ministerial portfolio focused on Indigenous and Labrador Affairs with a MHA based in Labrador responsible.

We will deal with Labrador’s Indigenous communities respectfully by engaging in true partnerships, consideringevery challenge, every opportunity, and every voice.

We will partner with Labradorians on a new Northern Strategic Plan to seize new opportunities, bring infrastructure to national standards with hard-won federal engagement, open up northern routes and opportunities for growth, and deal effectively with any challenges that emerge along the way.

We will insist on community benefits agreements so local residents can benefit more fully from infrastructure projects, and we will establish Partnerships for Jobs in the industries from mining to tourism that offer great promise in Labrador.

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Media Contacts:

Bradley Russell: 709-746-1505

Denise Tubrett: 709-746-4070

 

Backgrounder

Here are some of the many Blue Book commitments that will make a difference to Labradorians:

 

2.4 Affordable health care

 

“I will put patients first and identify the waste in the system.  They deserve better.  I do not intend to cut health care expenditures.  But what I do intend to do is ensure every dollar we spend improves patients’ access to quality health services for better results.” – Ches Crosbie, April 18, 2019

 

“We spend almost $3 billion on health care – almost 40 percent of our total expenditures – but we continue to have some of the highest rates of chronic disease and poorest health outcomes in the country.  We have the lowest life expectancy in Canada, the highest rate of heart disease, the highest rate of lifestyle associated cancers, the highest rate of diabetes.  We’re spending more per person than any other province – yet patients have the worst outcomes.  For patients in this province, that’s not good enough.  It‘s got to change.” – Ches Crosbie, April 18, 2019

 

“I will not cut health care spending.  What I will do is identify the waste so the money can be spent better – so patients get care sooner and get healthier instead of sicker.  I will value the input of patients and those involved in the delivery of health care services.  Our approach is all about improving care for the people of our province.” – Ches Crosbie, April 18, 2019

 

Here is our plan for timely access to quality health services for better results for patients.

 

2.4.1. Premier’s Task Force on Health Care

 

There is no greater priority in our province than health care.  The province spends just over $3 billion on health care, which is 38 percent of the total provincial budget.  Health care costs are escalating across the country, but Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest per-capita spending of any province.  While health care costs are increasing, unfortunately, the province continues to have some of the highest rates of chronic disease and poorest health outcomes.  Newfoundland and Labrador spends more on intervention than on prevention.  This is not good practice.

 

This province deserves a health care system whose focus is a healthy population; a health care system that is centred on quality, accessibility, sustainability and reliability.  A Crosbie government will focus on a health care system that is designed to keep people healthy, not simply react when they become sick.  A Crosbie government will not cut health care expenditures.  That means we must promote and invest in healthy living initiatives that will ultimately achieve better outcomes.  We must ensure that we are using the $3 billion of resources assigned to health care in the most efficient and results-oriented manner possible.  To those ends, we must engage in productive, meaningful conversations with care providers as well as health care consumers to learn from the experience of those front-line health workers and those who depend on the care provided.

 

The Ball Liberals have not attempted to improve the health care system in any way.  We know that, because our health outcomes have not improved.

 

A Crosbie government will establish the Premier’s Task Force on Health Care to work with all health care stakeholders including residents, frontline workers, health care providers and health care administrators, with a mandate to improve the way health care is delivered in this province.  The Task Force will be, not top-down, but consultative.  It will.

 

2.4.2. Healthier People For Better Outcomes

 

2.4.2.1. Social Determinants of Health

 

One of the reasons for the poor outcomes of so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is the conditions in which they live.  Social enterprises such as the Gathering Place serve many people who have few options in life.  Many find it difficult to make choices that are in the best long-term interests of their health.  In terms of housing, nutrition and medical care, they are not living as healthy as they want to be or ought to be living.  Many who end up in the health care system are in poorer shape and have poorer outcomes because their circumstances have not been conducive to healthy living.  They pay in terms of the quality of their lives; however, we all pay, fiscally and morally, when we allow these circumstances to continue.  We need a poverty reduction strategy that lifts people out of dire circumstances and promotes wellness.  We also need a lens on our health care system to identify problems like this and find solutions.

 

2.4.2.2 Chief Wellness Officer

 

We will appoint a Chief Wellness Officer for Newfoundland and Labrador.  A Chief Wellness Officer is an official who provides strategic vision, planning and direction to the development, implementation and evaluation of initiatives to improve health and well-being outcomes for people; regularly monitors and reports outcomes; raises awareness and provides education; creates a culture of wellness; and so forth.  This official will find ways to make Newfoundlanders and Labradorians healthier so they are more resilient and need less care from the health system in the long run.  This work will improve people’s lives while reducing costs.

 

2.4.2.3. High school first aid training

 

We will implement basic first aid training, including instruction in the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), for every high school student.  These courses have been shown to save lives.

 

2.4.2.4. Healthier lifestyle promotion

 

We will improve preventative medicine efforts through effective marketing that teaches people to adopt healthy lifestyles, engage in physical activity, eat healthier and reduce stress.

 

Our goal is for people to have better access to nutritious food at a reasonable cost.

 

We will enable health care providers to spend more time with their patients by providing a more flexible fee structure. Patients benefit when their health care providers can take the time to provide education about healthy lifestyle choices.

 

2.4.3. Better Access For Better Outcomes

 

2.4.3.1. Better access through better coordination

 

We will improve coordination throughout the health care system to promote better overall access for patients.  The result will be a more efficient, organized, outcome-centred health care system.

 

We will change the Medical Transportation system to allow 100 per cent reimbursement of travel for people who have to travel for medical reasons outside their region.  One of the barriers to accessing health care services for many rural residents of the province is the cost of travel.  As a result, patients may be unable to avail of medical care when they need it.  We must ensure every patient, no matter where they live, receives timely and affordable care.

 

2.4.3.2. Better access through innovative care delivery

 

We will introduce an “accountable care model” to give people better access to physicians and other care providers.  This delivery model will see the development of primary healthcare teams of physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dieticians, etc.  An accountable care model will encourage care providers to be innovative in the way they deliver care as a team.  For example, team members may offer after-hours and weekend clinics, thereby reducing Emergency Room visits.  Health care teams that show systemic cost savings will be able to reinvest a portion of those savings into their practices.  In addition, innovative care plans provided through the health team may realize savings for the health care system (e.g., fewer hospital admissions, fewer ER visits), which can then be reinvested into the primary health care team, or to develop more programs.

We will make better use of innovation by utilizing virtual care technologies allowing patients to access appropriate care in any region of the province.  Virtual care will enable patients to access a health care provider via technology.  This eliminates the stress of travel and lowers the costs to patients.  Procedures and regulations will be developed with physicians and other care providers who have the expertise to ensure prudent development and implementation of this care model.

 

We have seen in ophthalmology how partnering with the private sector can improve services for patients.  We will be open to pursuing more opportunities of this nature.

 

2.4.3.3. Better access through better recruitment, retention and remuneration

 

We will work with the NL Medical Association, the NL Nurses’ Union and other professional organizations to recruit and retain the physicians, nurses and other health care providers required in all regions of the province.  We will modernize the fee structure so it is flexible enough to cover innovative arrangements for service delivery by multidisciplinary health care teams.  Changes will enable professionals to work to their scope of practice to improve patient access and outcomes.

 

We will develop a more robust return-of-service agreement structure for graduating physicians of the Memorial University Medical School and provide attractive reimbursement packages for those who choose to practise in the province, particularly in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

To ensure patients have access to a robust and appropriate team of health care providers, we will work with Memorial University’s School of Medicine to ensure that specialty training offerings match the province’s needs.

 

We will collaborate with the NL Medical Association, the NL Nurses’ Union and other health care providers in their efforts to support the health and wellness of physicians and nurses.

 

2.4.3.4. Better access to care for seniors

 

We will reverse the decision of the Liberals that restricts seniors’ access to personal care homes.  Currently, assessors are obligated to strictly enforce a policy that requires applicants to have a physical care need – and sometimes more than one care need – to qualify for admission to a personal care home.  Mental wellness issues such as depression, loneliness, fear and anxiety do not qualify as acceptable care needs on their own.  This is a very regressive and regrettable step in the provision of mental health care in this province.  It is well documented that mental health affects physical health.  Today, many seniors, who would have previously qualified for admission are being turned away.  Personal care home beds are lying empty while needy seniors are awaiting assessments.  There is much evidence to support that the intervention of personal care homes can defer or even eliminate the need for the more expensive long-term care option.

 

We will restore the dignity and independence of seniors and allow them to have a voice in choosing the best care for their needs.  We will engage the Seniors’ Advisory Council differently and more effectively by involving them in the “health in all policies” approach.

 

We will establish a provincial palliative care team to guide health care providers in making decisions about the most appropriate care options for end-of-life patients.  All changes will be monitored and evaluated as they are being implemented.

 

We will develop a community residential hospice/end of life care model.  We will learn from the experiences of other provinces that have led on end-of-life hospice care.  As a start, we will work with the proponents of the Lionel Kelland Hospice in Grand Falls-Windsor in their efforts to establish a hospice, and based on learnings from this initiative, look to support others like it throughout the province.

 

2.4.3.5. Better access to cardiac care

 

We will develop a Cardiac Centre of Excellence to make our province a leader in cardiac care.   Newfoundland and Labrador has the country’s highest rate of heart disease, the number one killer in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Physicians have described cardiac illness as an epidemic in our province.  In 2009, cardiovascular disease was reported as the underlying cause of death for 32% of residents of the province.

 

We will establish a Registry for Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).  This will expedite care to cardiac patients until such time as paramedics can get to the patient.  When AEDs are available and 911 operators know exactly where the nearest one can be found, lives can be saved.  The longer the wait after a heart attack, the worse the damage and the more tragic the outcomes. A robust maintenance program must be implemented to ensure devices are routinely checked and kept in good working condition.

 

2.4.3.6. Better access to specific treatments

 

We will remove the age cap and ensure Medicare covers the cost of insulin pumps for all persons with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.  The uniqueness of our plan is that it will apply to all, not just to current users of insulin pumps.

 

We will adjust the provincial drug coverage program to be in line with established clinical guidelines and standards.

 

We will undertake an analysis of the adequacy of access to dialysis and home dialysis throughout the province.

 

The commitment to provide a free, comprehensive eye exam to children starting Kindergarten this fall is one we support.

 

We will work with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners to explore opportunities to improve access.

 

We will explore cost-effective options for access to in vitro fertilization.

 

We will consult with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about bringing forward legislation that presumes consent for organ donations.

 

2.4.4. Better Information For Better Outcomes

 

2.4.4.1. Better use of e-technology to enable better information

 

We will maximize the use of e-technology to better integrate and modernize the health care system.  We will advance the use of the Electronic Medical Record to improve the flow of information among health care providers.  In this regard, we will employ technologies such as eConsult, which improves the management of patient referrals.  We will maximize the implementation of electronic tools to remind patients of appointments, thereby reducing the large volume of missed appointments.

 

We will improve communication among all health care providers so that allied health care providers are efficiently using Electronic Medical Records to track patient care.  This will minimize errors and avoid needless duplication.

 

We will improve telehealth so patients can have better access to health care providers.  By adapting the rules regarding provider payment for telemedicine consultations, we will reduce the travel costs for patients and the cost burden to the system.

 

We will provide patients with better access to their own medical record by working with the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI).  This technology will enable patients to access their blood work results, scans, clinical notes, etc.

 

2.4.4.2. Better information through Choosing Wisely

 

We will educate health care providers and patients about the appropriateness of various tests, procedures and treatments to minimize waste and harm in the health care system.  Our efforts will complement the work of Choosing Wisely Newfoundland and Labrador (CWNL), which launched in October 2016.  CWNL is coordinated by the Translational and Personalized Medicine Initiative at Memorial University, and works in partnership with all provincial Regional Health Authorities, the Newfoundland Labrador Centre for Health Information, the NL Medical Association and the Patient Advisory Council.  CWNL is working to reduce unnecessary testing across the province. We will support the efforts of CWNL to reduce waste and improve our health care system.

 

2.4.4.3. Better information through a NL Quality Health Council

 

We will establish a NL Quality Health Council.  When decisions about treatment are made on a foundation of solid evidence, patients benefit and health care funding is used more effectively.  This Council will be responsible for interpreting evidence and proposing follow-up actions to ensure the province’s health care investment decisions are made in the best interests of patients.  The Council will be an independent body that consistently reports on outcomes, similar to the financial Auditor General but focused on clinical outcomes.

 

Patients are better served when we minimize waste and harm in the health care system.  Supporting the objectives of the collaborative effort between Quality of Care NL and Choosing Wisely NL, the Council will focus on ensuring the right treatments get to the right patients at the right time.

 

2.4.4.4. Review of long-term care facility staffing and capacity

 

We will conduct a base staff level review of all nursing homes in the province.

 

As our population ages, the Quality Health Council will work with communities to ensure the long-term care capacity of the province is better able to meet the need.

 

2.4.4.5. Review of mental health and addictions needs and care

 

A Crosbie government will be fully supportive of a new mental health hospital and will consult with appropriate health providers and mental health advocates to ensure the design and location will meet both current and future needs.  These buildings are expensive, so we must get it right.

 

A Crosbie government will not cut health funding.  Mental health and addictions will be given equal status to other areas of health care.

 

We will explore opportunities to improve access to psychiatrists and psychotherapy.

 

We will examine ways to complement the Doorways walk-in mental health service program by using telehealth more effectively to offer online services.   This will improve access to non-emergency mental health services and counseling.

 

We will ensure the challenges of mental health and addictions treatment are subject to intense critical review and evolve in line with best practices.  We will improve access to mental health care and addictions treatment as per the recommendations of the report of the all-party committee on mental health and addictions.  We will consult on the most effective measures we can take to improve access to mental health and addictions services, including Suboxone treatment, and specialty appointments dealing with issues of mental health and addictions.

 

We will ensure the mental health and addictions care of inmates of our correctional centres reflects the recommendations of the Jesso report on inmate deaths.

 

We will open up a broader public discussion about community drug issues, and work collaboratively with policing agencies, the health care sector, community groups, frontline professionals and others to find solutions that will protect our people and make our communities safer.

 

Video Lottery Terminal line games are associated with high risk of problematic gambling behaviours. We will require the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to conform VLT line games to consumer protection standards. These games will remain available to players in existing venues.

 

2.5 A more progressive society

 

A Crosbie government will ensure the Seniors’ Advocate has powers similar to those of the Child and Youth Advocate to investigate and report on specific cases.  We will work with the Seniors’ Advocate on strategies to address elder abuse, exploitation and consumer protection, particularly in relation to marketing fraud.

 

Poverty stymies the development of children and youth, denies people opportunities to fulfill their potential and undermines people’s health.  The Poverty Reduction Strategy of previous PC administrations was lauded nationally for bringing poverty levels in Newfoundland and Labrador from the highest in the country to the lowest within a decade.  We will begin the process of developing a new Poverty Reduction Strategy to build on what we started.

 

We will bring forward a renewed housing and homelessness plan, building on initiatives that were undertaken under prior PC administrations.  The strategy will cover affordable housing, social housing, accessible housing and home retrofits, landlord-tenant relations and slum landlords, safe housing and violence prevention, student housing, seniors’ housing, fire protection, home insurance, and other issues.

 

We will provide regular, reasonable increases to the minimum wage by linking it to the Consumer Price Index.  The new Poverty Reduction Strategy will consider whether this approach strikes the optimal balance.

 

We will create a safe and healthy environment in every school.  By carrying out targeted and schoolwide mental health interventions, we can simultaneously improve students’ well-being and academic achievement.

 

We will bring forward a renewed Violence Prevention Strategy to build on the advances of the most recent Violence Prevention Strategy.  Initiatives will relate to child protection, victim safety, shelters and support networks, transition houses, cyber-violence, workplace harassment, gang violence, human trafficking, protective police presence, restorative justice, victim impact, legal aid and support, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, elder abuse, persons with disabilities, racism and hate crime, gender-based violence, bullying, safe and caring schools, violence in care facilities, and other matters.

 

We will establish a much-needed new correctional facility in the appropriate location.  We will review the recent deaths of inmates at correctional facilities in greater depth, and take measures to ensure the operations at our current and replacement facilities accord with our mental health and addictions strategies and the findings of reports on our corrections and justice systems.

 

We will partner with the community sector and volunteers to amplify the work they do.

 

We will update the strategy on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in collaboration with a variety of provincial organizations.  We will focus on improving opportunities for full participation in our province, lowering barriers to employment, improving housing and home support options, improving transportation, improving access to sports and recreation, and making education inclusive, personalized and meaningful.  We affirm that persons with disabilities have the right to make their own decisions and to use support if they choose.  In partnership with organizations representing persons with disabilities, we will strive to apply the general principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which are: Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons; Non-discrimination; Full and effective participation and inclusion in society; Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; Equality of opportunity; Accessibility; Equality between men and women; Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities. 

 

The IQ70 criterion remains in place, denying services to people with autism four years after the Ball Liberals were told to remove it.  After four years in office, the Liberals took no action on an Autism Action Plan until eight hours before calling the election – and even this was just to announce more promises of future action.  Not good enough!  Lip-service does not change lives.  We will develop an Autism Strategy that emphasizes early assessment and diagnosis; early and effective intervention with programs that are proven to work; and lifelong support.

 

We will apply a gender lens to public policy, and work with women to remove barriers to gender equality.

 

We will promote adoption and foster parenting to give children the benefits of a stable, supportive home life in a caring family.

 

1.9 Labrador

 

Virtually all of our policies include Labradorians, but there are specific approaches we need to take to respect the unique circumstances and opportunities in Labrador.

 

A Crosbie government will collaborate with Labradorians to develop a new Northern Strategy Plan for Labrador to build on the far-reaching successes of the original Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador.  Our Northern Strategic Plan will be as bold as Quebec’s Plan Nord.

 

Labrador is home to many Indigenous communities.  For our policies regarding Indigenous communities, please also see the Section on Indigenous partnerships.

 

Currently there are several communities in this province that are isolated and rely on diesel generation for their electricity needs.  A Crosbie government will explore the options to replace diesel generation, with the objective to reduce the number of communities that rely of diesel generation.

 

We will work with the mining industry in both Labrador and neighbouring Quebec, and with the Government of Quebec, to increase mining activity in the Labrador trough.

 

We will pursue every opportunity to see Labrador recognized nationally and internationally as a Gateway to the North, with proper road and sea routes extending beyond Labrador, so it is positioned to take a lead role in providing goods, services and a base of expertise for all other regions of Canada’s North.

 

We will press the Government of Canada to acknowledge the importance of raising the quality of the Trans-Labrador Highway to Canadian national highway standards.

 

We will explore opportunities to partner with the Governments of Canada and Quebec on a long-term joint interconnection project comprising a fixed link connecting Labrador and Newfoundland, upgraded Labrador and Island highways leading to and from the link, and a completed Quebec Lower North Shore highway that would connect Southern Labrador to central Canada along the St. Lawrence.

 

A new Northern Strategic Plan must involve a partnership between governments, communities, organizations and people to address the high costs of food, travel and health-related transportation costs for Labradorians.

 

All of these initiatives and more will be explored as we move forward to develop the new Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador.

 

3.2 Indigenous partnership

 

Indigenous communities in Newfoundland and Labrador include the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, the Innu Nation in Natuashish and Sheshatshiu, the Southern Inuit Métis of NunatuKavut, the Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omiFirst Nation of Conne River, and the Qalipu First Nation.

 

Indigenous peoples have a special status in Canada and in Newfoundland and Labrador.  A Crosbie government will respect this special status, and deal with all Indigenous communities and their representatives with honour, building true partnerships.

 

A Crosbie government will honour those whose stories have been told through the Truth and Reconciliation process, and honour the recommendations that this process has brought forward.

 

A Crosbie government will apologize to Indigenous communities, families and individuals whose lives were severely impacted during the years of the residential school system.

 

A Crosbie government will respect agreements that have been made and work cooperatively with Indigenous communities as they pursue their goals.  In pursuing resource development agreements, a Crosbie government will ensure the people of Indigenous communities are beneficiaries.

 

The Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador supports the policies expressed by the Government of Canada in Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages in Canada.  A Crosbie government will work with the federal government, Indigenous organizations and Indigenous governments to create effective support for Indigenous languages in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

A Crosbie government will explore opportunities to engage Indigenous communities, educators, the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation and others in offering a variety of courses on Indigenous cultures, languages and history to students in schools throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

A Crosbie government will work cooperatively with Indigenous communities on the wide range of issues that concern Indigenous people and that may overlap various areas of jurisdiction: transportation infrastructure and services; health care; safety; education; post-secondary education and training; children and youth; access to healthy and affordable food; access to housing; search and rescue; justice and policing; environmental protection; development and employment; the preservation and promotion of heritage and culture; and other matters.

 

In cooperation with Indigenous communities, a Crosbie government will follow through on the respectful repatriation of the remains of Beothuk people, whose home is Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

1.2 Knowledge economy and education

 

The Knowledge Economy is emerging within our province. The aerospace and defence, ocean technology, and information and communication technology industries are great examples of how this economy is providing jobs to our workforce. 

 

Actions need to be taken to ensure that our educational programs are designed to meet the needs of the future. Actions also need to be taken to ensure that the private sector is ready to take advantage of emerging technologies. 

 

A Crosbie government will aim to grow the applied research capacity within the province and explore opportunities for local industry to benefit from ongoing research.

 

A Crosbie government will work with investors to determine the role the government can play in bringing innovation to the commercialization stage.

 

A Crosbie government will create a new venture capital fund.  The province will invest $10 million, in addition to private sector contributions obtained through the Venture Capital Tax Credit.  This fund will be technology focused and will help companies expand their base within the province.

 

1.2.1. Education

 

A common indicator of cognitive achievement, used around the world, is the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment.  PISA tests 15 year olds every three years in three key subject areas: math, reading and science.  In the latest round of tests, Canada was in the top tier of international rankings.  Within Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador ranked near the bottom when compared to other provinces.  More alarming, since 2003 Newfoundland and Labrador’s ranking has declined nationally and internationally.

 

A Crosbie government will focus our schools on developing cognitive learning to the limit of each child’s capacity to learn cognitive skills.  That approach will reduce achievement gaps between rich and poor, the learning advantaged and the learning disadvantaged, urban and rural, and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians compared to students in the rest of Canada.

 

A Crosbie government will acknowledge the performance problem we have and give the Education Department and our School Boards a year to come up with performance targets that will:

•​close the PISA gap between NL and the average for Canada by 2030;

•​reduce the PISA performance gap between rural and urban schools; and

•​reduce the PISA performance gap between the learning advantaged and learning disadvantaged students.

 

A Crosbie government, in partnership with the English and Francophone School Districts, will:

 

•​Develop the necessary remedial programs, teaching techniques, policies and funding model to ensure that significantly more students have mastered reading before entry into the Intermediate education program;

 

•​Develop the necessary remedial programs, teaching techniques, polices and funding model to ensure that significantly more students have mastered basic mathematics functions before entry into the Intermediate education program;

 

•​Articulate and promote mathematics and reading cultures among students and the general public that instill the importance of these disciplines in future academic and career success;

 

•​Conduct a comprehensive review of the senior high school curriculum and make changes necessary to ensure that courses are relevant and promote creative thinking, problem solving, financial literacy, civic participation, and decision-making skills essential to personal and professional success in the 21st century;

 

•​As part of the above review, develop a strategy that ensures all students understand the need and opt for the more academically demanding high school courses needed for success at the post-secondary level;

 

•​Conduct school-by-school surveys to identify students who are at risk of dropping out and develop outreach programs and services to ensure their continued education;

 

•​Develop more robust mechanisms for obtaining high school certification, for students who have already dropped out;

 

•​Ensure that all school guidance counsellors are better equipped and are given sufficient time to provide high school students with the knowledge, skills and information they need to make informed career and post-secondary decisions;

 

•​Examine high school graduation requirements and refine them where appropriate to match current and future labour markets;

 

•​Examine intermediate and high school course offerings and modify them where appropriate to align them with national and international best practices in ways that will more effectively prepare students for post-secondary education options and career choices after high school;

 

•​As a necessary consequence of the closure of the School for the Deaf in 2010, provide training in American Sign Language (ASL) to teachers and fellow students of the several hundred deaf and hard of hearing students in our school system, to ensure that inclusive learning is truly inclusive of the developmental and educational needs of this unique population.  Deaf and hard of hearing students should receive the same level of services as was provided to them at the date of closure of the School for the Deaf.  We will conduct a review to identify gaps and work with parents to develop a plan to close the gaps.

 

It is generally agreed that artificial intelligence and its associative machine learning and robotics will change almost every line of work, from producing textiles to teaching how to play golf.  Artificial intelligence (AI), with its algorithmic backbone, is exponentially more powerful than computers as they have been used in the past.  AI has now established a firm foothold, having advanced at a very rapid pace over the past few years.  Although AI will result in the creation of new types of jobs, many more blue collar and white collar jobs stand to be lost around the world in the transition.  No job will be immune from the threat of automation brought about by AI.  New jobs created as a result of AI will probably demand high levels of niche expertise, and therefore not solve the problems of displaced workers.  Yuval Noah Harari in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century gives the following example: “In 1980 an unemployed factory worker could start working as a cashier in a supermarket.  Such occupational changes were feasible, because the move from farm to factory and factory to supermarket required limited retraining.  But by 2050, a cashier or textile worker losing her job to a robot will not be able to start working as a cancer researcher worker, as a drone operator, or as part of a human AI banking system.  She won’t have the necessary (niche) skills.” (p.39)  Harari goes on to assert that “if we are not careful we may end up with the worst of both worlds, suffering simultaneously from high unemployment and a shortage of highly skilled labour.” (p.39)  Newfoundland and Labrador must prepare.

 

A Crosbie government will:

 

•​Examine the intended post-secondary choices of graduating high school students to determine if the numbers of students opting for technically oriented careers are commensurate with projected needs for technology oriented jobs;

 

•​In high schools and among the general public, promote technology related careers as viable and desirable in the emerging age of AI automation;

 

•​Develop and enhance technology oriented programs at post-secondary institutions, where needed.

 

A Crosbie government will also:

 

•​Bring together thought leaders from business, labour, academia, the not-for-profit sector and government to discuss today’s workplace challenges along with strategies to chart a successful path forward. Key questions for discussion will include: (a) How do we build a highly skilled flexible work force that meets present demand, is able to adapt to changes in the work place, and is able to transfer between sectors?, and (b) What initiatives should we take to reduce barriers that can exclude people, including youth, women, older workers, persons with disabilities and immigrants?  Much of this work will focus on improving labour market access and attachment and providing appropriate social protections.

 

The Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) was introduced by the Peckford government to expand educational opportunities through the use of technology.  CDLI can continue to help our province break barriers by expanding educational opportunities.  A Crosbie government will work with educators to:

 

•​develop plans to expand CDLI services to a wider variety of students and curricular areas in our province;

 

•​develop plans to use the CDLI infrastructure to enhance existing course offerings and to create new course offerings currently unavailable to NL students;

 

•​develop plans to extend CDLI course offerings into the intermediate grade levels;

 

•​develop plans to empower parents to become more involved in the education of their children, such as CDLI-based homework/study strategies specific to a wide variety of courses, access to online tutors, and online discussion forums.

 

We will develop a new policy on school busing within 1.6 kilometres of school.

 

The Collins Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes did fine work in reviewing the issues and bringing forward recommendations.  We will ensure the sound recommendations are implemented.

 

1.2.2. Post-secondary education

 

Post-secondary education, sometimes known as tertiary education, refers to education gained at colleges, universities, technical schools, and other institutions following completion of high school or a similar education.

 

The importance of post-secondary education has increased significantly in the last decade.  A high school education alone is no longer enough to be successful in today’s global economy.  The economic health of a province has a positive correlation with the employment and productivity of its residents.

 

Studies of investments in post-secondary education show that rates for labour force participation rise significantly with higher levels of schooling, and the income of residents with more education is generally greater than the income of those with less education.  One of the most important aspects of a post-secondary education is that it is often required for employment in a number of different fields.

 

Education benefits not only individuals, but also business and governments. First, higher productivity translates into higher income and, hence, improved standards of living. Second, a more educated workforce is less subject to unemployment and, as a result, society is less vulnerable to economic downturns and poverty problems. Third, such a workforce can produce a wide range of high-quality products and services from which society can choose. Revenues collected by governments are higher when the income base is higher, and these revenues help maintain and/or improve various social programs, such as health care. Finally, a more educated population tends to generate more R&D activity, which, in turn, leads to social benefits.

 

The public post-secondary education system in Newfoundland and Labrador consists of:

•​Memorial University of Newfoundland (18,500)

•​College of the North Atlantic (9000), and

•​Private Training Institutions (2500)

 

Recognizing the importance of an educated workforce and with a focus on student outcomes and employability:

 

A Crosbie government will work with stakeholders involved in employment provincially, nationally and globally to create a framework of current and projected high demand employment opportunities coupled with education and training requirements to ensure successful employment.

 

We will work in collaboration with all post-secondary training institutions to ensure residents have affordable access to the training programs offering the highest potential to full-time meaningful employment utilizing institution location, program offerings and ability to mobilize.

 

We will review both Public and Private training legislation and regulations to create consistent guidelines that maintain a high level of commitment and standards with a focus on creating labour market driven programming resulting in greater employment opportunity for graduates. 

 

We will work with stakeholders to develop a template for allotting and approving federal and provincial employment and training program funding that targets high priority labour market shortage areas with the goal of more-effective use of funding and improving employment outcomes.

 

We will explore options, both technical and practical, to ensure post-secondary programming is available to those in remote regions and in a manner that is cost effective and allows participation to fit personal schedules.

 

Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic will play an enormous role in securing a strong and sustainable future for Newfoundland and Labrador.  Both institutions ought to be recognized nationally and internationally more and more as centres of excellence in academic programming, research and innovation.

 

Competitiveness in a changing world requires investment.  We will work with Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic to attract investment and partners from around the world.

 

We will work with our public and private college system in collaboration with the private sector to deliver programs responsive to the needs of industry.  We will ensure our graduates are prepared to enter the labour market with quality programming in subject matters that consider emerging industries, disciplines, and technology.

 

We will continue to support the most competitive post-secondary tuition fees and student aid programs in the country.

 

We will continue to work collaboratively with Memorial University to maximize the potential of Grenfell Campus at Corner Brook for the benefit of its students, and promote research and development to further diversify economic growth in the western region of the province.

 

We will work with Memorial and the College to promote opportunities for women, for Indigenous Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and for persons with disabilities.

 

We will promote partnerships that will enable the provincial government to draw more effectively on the expertise of Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic.

 

1.1.2. Crosbie Partnerships for Jobs

 

A Crosbie government will recognize that government does not directly create jobs in the private sector, but can rather focus on helping business do their work of creating jobs. It is the role of a Crosbie government to help provide the conditions to stimulate private sector investment and job creation.

 

A Crosbie government will bring together partners from industry, government and post-secondary education into multiple Partnerships for Jobs. These partnerships will identify potential for growth in sectors of the economy where the province has industry leaders, strength in skill development, technology, research, supply chains, and strong links to markets.

 

The partnerships will advise government on appropriate policies and how to use the tools of government to help build new capacity in these sectors. The ultimate goal of each partnership will be to find ways to increase the size and scope of these industries and increase participation by local companies in supplying goods and services.

 

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador manages a range of policies – taxes, education and training, research, natural resources development, regulations, and infrastructure – that reinforce each other in ways that can obstruct or encourage economic growth and job creation. A Crosbie government will marshal all the economic development policy tools available to it into a focused and coordinated effort to create more and better quality jobs in support of these partnerships for jobs.

 

This will include ensuring that young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have access to quality education and training programs that are adapted to the labour market requirements.

Partnerships for jobs will be created in the fishery, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, mineral development, electricity and utilities, marine services, tourism, the digital economy, the ICT sector, the knowledge-based economy, forestry, manufacturing, construction and other industries that have potential for growth.

 

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest unemployment rate in Canada, almost three times the national average.  Within our province, small businesses provide 75% of all private sector jobs and medium sized businesses provide 17% of all private sector jobs.  This is why a Partnership for Jobs strategy is the best opportunity to achieve maximum employment for the future of this province.

 

1.1.3. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as the Principal Beneficiaries – Renewable, Non-Renewable Resources, and Public Funds

 

A Crosbie government believes that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should be the beneficiaries of all of our province’s renewable and non-renewable resources.  It is the goal of a Crosbie government to develop and expand a supply chain that supports all natural resource development so Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are the principal beneficiaries of all of our province’s resources.

 

To ensure that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians receive the maximum benefit of public funds, when new public facilities are constructed a Crosbie government will require community benefits agreements to be included with the contractors’ bid packages.  This will give consideration to the employment of apprentices, underrepresented groups and a local labour force; ensure the use of the local supply and service industry and local materials; and ensure that our communities are the true beneficiaries of the economic activity created by public funds.

 

1.1.4. A Strategy for Population Growth: Increasing Newfoundland and Labrador’s Population, 2019-2024

 

Why is it important to grow our population?  By 2025 (with current trends), 27% of Newfoundland and Labrador’s population will be over age 65.  And while the Baby Boomers will be living longer, they will retire.  Retirements will increase, and the workforce will shrink. The unemployment rate will continue to fall, but the tax base will also shrink.  The province’s economic health will be influenced by the fact that fewer of our citizens will be paying taxes, but they will be drawing more and more on our health care system.  Less tax dollars, less services, greater debt, and increasing difficulty funding services all mean that there will not be enough new workers to replace those about to leave the workforce in greater numbers.

 

How serious is this challenge?  There will be 58,900 (+61%) more 65-year olds living in the province in 2030 than there were in 2015.  And by 2036, if we do nothing, the Population Project at Memorial University forecasts that our population could fall to under 470,000 people, which will not be enough of a workforce to sustain services at current levels.  Simply put, our province must replace and expand our taxpaying workforce.  Our province needs more people if we want our economy to grow and not stagnate.  This can only happen in two ways: either more people can be born here – which, given our aging population, is increasingly unlikely – or, as a province, we can take aggressive steps to encourage the return migration of provincial expatriates and we can work to stimulate and facilitate the arrival of new people to the province.

 

How many do we need?  Recently, one Liberal MHA boasted that in 2017, the province welcomed 1170 newcomers and that in 2018, the province welcomed 1525 newcomers.  But these efforts fall short of the Liberals’ target of 1700 newcomers annually, and they fall well short of the 3800 newcomers needed annually to stop the decline and ensure growth. Unless our province’s population growth targets are doubled, the province’s population and economic decline will accelerate.  In order to take advantage of the benefits to our economy and communities of an increased population, Newfoundland and Labrador needs to increase its population to the average of one per cent each year, or more than 5,000 persons per year.  At present, our province has the lowest percentage of population foreign-born, only 2.4 percent, compared to the Canadian average of 24 percent.  This needs to change.

 

How do we attract people here? Any new people must have jobs to attract and retain them in our economy.  As Janice Byrne, Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade recently observed, “Newfoundland and Labrador’s immigration programs are employer driven.  Employers must go through exhaustive means to demonstrate that they have tried to recruit locally before they can recruit an immigrant to fill a position.  80 percent of NL’s immigration is via the Provincial Nominee Program stream,” which is tied to job availability.  So a focus on job creation and the creation of long-term, high salary jobs must be a part of the strategy.

 

A Crosbie government will address these demographic challenges with decisive action in four areas.  First, our Families Plan will work to create conditions to increase the birth rate, including removing financial barriers to people who have or want to have children, and supporting individuals who care for adult family members.  Second, we will launch a Workforce Development Action Plan to support job growth, help people find jobs, and help employers find employees.  Third, a Communities Action Plan will promote diversity, expand settlement assistance for increased immigrant retention, and for rural regions of our province, particularly target specific regional immigration strategies tailored to the labour market needs of larger communities outside St. John’s.  We will work at bringing expatriate Newfoundlanders and Labradorians home to work.  And we will aggressively implement an Immigration Action Plan, focusing on attracting more immigrants to the province and welcoming them, and seeking to provide the optimal conditions to ensure that they have good work opportunities and are welcomed as contributing members of our communities.

 

Our Families Plan will work to create economic and social conditions in our province to increase the birth rate, and will work to remove financial barriers to people who have or want to have children.  We will provide expanded childcare.  We will also carefully study the elements of quality of life for families, with a commitment to optimize government programs and services to ensure the highest possible quality of life for families in our province.

 

Our Workforce Development Action Plan will support job growth, help people find jobs, and help employers find employees.  Our province is rich in natural resources and we have some of the most resilient and creative people on the planet.  We will focus on optimizing employment opportunities for unemployed and underemployed people of our province, and take measures to help match particular skills with opportunities in the employment market.  We will drive research and development, and promote business incubators like the Genesis Centre at Memorial University.  We believe that high paying jobs, innovation, and the use of our greatest natural resource – the ingenuity of our province’s peoples – is the best way forward.  We will take measures to attract innovative international businesses and technological sector employers to the province.  We will implement programs across government, particularly in business and tourism, that build on our enviable international reputation as a world-class tourism destination, and a world-class destination for gastronomy, music, culture, and the natural environment.  We will also market the province as a highly desirable lifestyle, cultural, economic, and employment destination in which to work, live, and raise a family.

 

Our Communities Action Plan will promote diversity, focus on immigrant retention, and for rural regions of our province it will particularly target specific regional immigration strategies tailored to the labour market needs of larger communities outside St. John’s.  Our vision is of communities with activities, amenities, and services for residents of all ages, serving people with differing needs from many different backgrounds.  We will aim to make diversity and opportunity the hallmarks of our province’s communities in the future.  Our goal is to bring expatriate Newfoundlanders and Labradorians home to work in communities where families can set down roots and build a high quality of life.  Partnering with municipalities, we will develop quality of life plans that support a high quality of life in our communities.

 

Aggressive action will be taken on our Immigration Action Plan, focusing on attracting more immigrants to the province, welcoming them.  Over the next five years, we will work to increase by 15% annually the target percentage of immigrants over the current target of 1700 immigrants.  We will market and promote the province within Canada and especially internationally, and work with employers to ensure that we do everything in our power to recruit and retain immigrants.  We will bring the federal government to the table to create a new Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador streamlined and accelerated immigration agreement. We will also systematically and aggressively seek to remove the barriers to permanent settlement for the thousands of international students who are studying in our university and college systems.  We need to ensure the highest quality of their experience here; we need them to find good work here, choose to settle permanently in the province, and because of their potential as some of our best international ambassadors, we need to use their skills, ingenuity, and linguistic abilities to promote the province internationally.

 

We cannot accept a future where doom and gloom about our future prevail.  The PC Party has a positive vision of a prosperous future for our province.  Unlike the Liberals, we will not spend four years destroying consumer confidence in our economy.  Unlike the Liberals, we will not neglect opportunities to promote the province internationally.  Unlike the Liberals, we will not stand by unconcerned and allow flights connecting our province internationally to be cancelled.  We will not promote negativity, or allow our youth to lose their identity and hope in their own future.  Newfoundland and Labrador can have a strong economy, and vibrant cultures, with the right strategies and the right plans.  We believe that we have the strongest vision and the best plan.

 

As a part of the Population Growth Plan, a Crosbie government will establish a Graduate Retention Program.  This program will provide a tax credit, to a maximum of $20,000, when post-secondary graduates choose to work in this province.  The rebate will be based on the amount paid by the graduate and the level of education they have obtained.  The rebate will be paid to the graduate for seven years after they have graduated while they work in this province.

 

1.4.3. Electricity

 

Volume 2 of the Energy Plan will prepare the province to regain control of the Upper Churchill hydroelectric power.  A Crosbie government will ensure, through detailed analysis and preparation, that our province is prepared to use the energy for the long-term economic benefit of the province.  This will include grid preparation, energy marketing, legal and technical analysis.

 

Currently there are several communities in this province that are isolated and rely on diesel generation for their electricity needs.  A Crosbie government will study the options to replace diesel generation, with the objective to reduce the number of communities that rely on diesel generation.

 

1.7 Mining

 

The province has significant remaining mineral potential and remains underexplored.  Ensuring a high level of mineral exploration is essential for ensuring new discoveries.  This requires continued investment in government programs and initiatives that advance exploration.

Prospectors, exploration companies, mining development companies, and active mines all require different actions from the government to ensure they can flourish in the global economy.  A Crosbie government will work with proponents at each stage of development to drive growth in the mining industry.

We will apply the lessons learned in oil and gas exploration to drive mining geoscience and promotion.

 

We will incentivize exploration in the mining industry though a tax credit.

We will publish maps and geoscience data to help prospectors and exploration companies pursue eventual development.

 

We will promote the province’s wealth of undeveloped mineral resources, include rare earth elements that are of great importance in newly advanced technologies.

 

The agreement to conduct underground mining at Voisey’s Bay was made in 2013 under a PC government.  We will work with the company to advance this project so workers and the local economy benefit fully and fairly.

 

Mining operations must balance development goals and sustainable environmental policies.  Mining projects must undergo proper environmental assessments that require assurances of impact mitigation and remediation plans.

 

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