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Crosbie says NL’s Workers Should get First Dibs on Jobs at the New Mental Health and Addictions Hospital
PC Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie has written to Liberal leadership candidates John Abbott and Andrew Furey, seeking their commitment to prioritize the hiring of skilled NL workers
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

 

St. John's, NL (July 28, 2020) – – PC Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie has written to Liberal leadership candidates John Abbott and Andrew Furey, seeking their commitment to prioritize the hiring of skilled NL workers first by adopting a local benefits agreement policy, starting with the new mental health and addictions hospital.

Trades NL, representing approximately 18,000 skilled NL workers, have advocated strongly for a local benefits agreement policy (NL FIRST campaign). The PC Official Opposition strongly support Trades NL and have made a local benefits agreement policy a cornerstone of our broad economic policy.

Crosbie said, "Our Party has been pushing hard for a local benefits agreement policy because we believe NL's workers should get first dibs on jobs in this province. The new mental health and addictions hospital will see more than 400 jobs created during construction. These jobs should go to skilled NL workers first.”

Crosbie wrote: "The Liberal government's failure to act on prioritizing the hiring of local skilled workers is a matter of public record. As Premier, one of you will inherit that team and that legacy. As Premier, you must change course, for the sake of the thousands of people in this province who are looking for work."

“I write to urge you to join me in making a public commitment to adopt a local NL benefits agreement policy without further delay, starting with the new adult mental health and addictions hospital. In a minority-led parliament, we have the power to give effect to this policy by acting collaboratively - following the lead of Trades NL - to advance the best interests of our province by putting the interests of Newfoundland and Labrador FIRST.

See Backgrounder

 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

-30-

Backgrounder

July 28, 2020

John Abbott
Via email: info@voteabbott.ca

Andrew Furey
Via email: andrewfurey2020@gmail.com

Gentlemen,

Today Government announced the selection of Avalon Healthcare Partnership to design, build,
finance, and maintain the new adult mental health and addictions hospital in St. John’s. There
will be more than 400 jobs expected to be created during the construction phase.

The recent fiscal update included staggering projections for job loss and people leaving our
province. It is expected that another 11,000 jobs will be lost and 4,000 people forced to leave
the province. People are worried about their jobs and how they will provide for their families.

There has never been a more important time in our history to make job creation a priority and
get our people back to work. One of the ways to do this is to ensure all publicly funded
infrastructure projects, like the new adult mental health and addictions hospital, prioritize the
hiring of qualified Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) workers.

Trades NL, representing approximately 18,000 skilled NL workers, have advocated strongly for a
NL benefits agreement policy (NL FIRST campaign). They believe that NL workers should be
given priority on publicly funded infrastructure projects to maximize local employment
opportunities within the province. Just as government negotiates benefits agreements for
industrial projects, a similar process should be in place for public infrastructure projects. Other
provincial governments across the country have implemented benefits agreements including
Quebec, Manitoba, BC and Alberta.

Our party, the NL Progressive Conservative Party, accepted the recommendation of Trades NL
and made a NL benefits agreement policy a cornerstone of our broad economic policy. It
became a key element of our 2019 policy Blue Book. We brought a resolution to the House of
Assembly after the election on November 13, 2019, calling for such a policy to take effect. We
issued news releases just before Labour Day in 2019 and again in April of this year, urging the
government to adopt such a policy to drive growth and create jobs in Newfoundland and
Labrador.

Although the Liberal members supported our resolution calling for the adoption of this policy,
the government has not acted. Valuable time has been lost. Opportunities have been lost. Local
benefits have been lost. Local jobs have been lost.

The Liberal government's failure to act is a matter of public record. As Premier, one of you will
inherit that team and that legacy. As Premier, you must change course, for the sake of the
thousands of people in this province who are looking for work.

I write to urge you to join me in making a public commitment to adopt a NL benefits agreement
policy without further delay, starting with the new adult mental health and addictions hospital.
In a minority-led parliament, we have the power to give effect to this policy by acting
collaboratively - following the lead of Trades NL - to advance the best interests of our province
by putting the interests of Newfoundland and Labrador FIRST.

Sincerely,
Ches Crosbie

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