The launch of the #WeAreNL campaign. Twitter photo by Alyse Stuart.
The Council of Canadians is a member of the new ‘We Are NL’ anti-austerity campaign launched on April 26.
Others affiliated with this campaign include Unifor, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Federation of Students – Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s Status of Women Council, the Registered Nurses’ Union – Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour.
As noted on their website, “‘We Are NL’ is a campaign launched by Common Front NL, a broad based coalition of labour, social justice and community groups representing over 100,000 Newfoundlander’s and Labradorians. Together we represent the majority in our province who believe that despite the current fiscal situation, we can and we must have an economy that works for everyone, leaving no one behind.”
They highlight, “We have united because we are deeply concerned about the future of our province in light of the current economic downturn. We believe that our province’s response must be a measured, well thought out, strategic and long term plan. It cannot be a knee jerk reaction in the form of massive cuts to the public sector – which cause private sector employment to decline, take money out of the economy, at the worst possible time, and also have a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable. We can grow our economy and ensure future prosperity by investing in strong public services, like education, health care and childcare.”
Just some of the specific measures announced by the provincial government in their April 14 budget include:
cutting hundreds of civil service jobs (eliminating at least 450 full-time equivalent jobs across public agencies, board and commissions, as well as 200 government positions)
raising the harmonized sales tax from 13 per cent to 15 per cent
cutting $14 million in funding to Memorial University (prompting concerns about tuition fee increases)
a $300 levy for those earning $25,000 a year (that tops out at $900 for anyone making more than $202,500 a year)
the average household in Newfoundland and Labrador paying nearly $3,000 more in taxes and fees per year.
The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter has already participated in two major protests against this budget on April 16 and April 21.
CBC reports, “[The province’s finance minister] said further actions will be announced in a supplemental budget this fall.”
The Council of Canadians will be highlighting many of these issues at our annual conference in St. John’s this coming October 14-16.
For more, please see the We Are NL website here.