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'The voters deserve the truth': Crosbie calls for immediate release Economic Recovery Team interim report

Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie on Wednesday at his headquarters in downtown St. John's called on Liberal Leader Andrew Furey to immediately release the recommendations from the Economic Recovery Team to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. — Andrew Waterman/The Telegram
Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie on Wednesday at his headquarters in downtown St. John's called on Liberal Leader Andrew Furey to immediately release the recommendations from the Economic Recovery Team to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. — Andrew Waterman/The Telegram

Furey says it’s a group investigating ideas, and there’s no report to release

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

During a news conference Wednesday at Progressive Conservative headquarters in downtown St. John’s, PC Leader Ches Crosbie called upon Liberal Leader Andrew Furey to immediately release an interim report from the Economic Recovery Team before the province heads to the polls.

“(It’s) a document that many fear will contain deep cuts to public services, slash funding for rural communities and cost our province much-needed jobs,” Crosbie said.

An interim report from the Moya Greene-led committee is scheduled to be released on Feb. 28, more than two weeks after election day on Feb. 13.


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Crosbie says the scheduling of the report is convenient for the Liberals, who called the provincial election in the early evening of Friday, Jan. 15.

“Andrew Furey himself says sometimes to save a patient you have to cut off a leg,” Crosbie said. “He’s only waiting for Dame Greene to hand him the scalpel.”

He called on Furey to require Greene to release the report to Furey no later than Feb. 1.

“And I’m further calling on the premier to release the report to the voters of Newfoundland and Labrador immediately,” he said. “The voters deserve the truth before casting their ballots.”

Crosbie asked voters to visit ReleaseTheReport.com, a section of the official PC website, to sign a petition.


Premier Andrew Furey was flanked by Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans candidate Debbie Ball (left) and Exploits candidate Rodney Mercer as he announced a commitment to provincial youth wellness. — Nicholas Mercer/SaltWire Network
Premier Andrew Furey was flanked by Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans candidate Debbie Ball (left) and Exploits candidate Rodney Mercer as he announced a commitment to provincial youth wellness. — Nicholas Mercer/SaltWire Network

 


During a campaign stop in Grand Falls-Windsor, Furey was asked about the status of the economic recovery recommendations.

“I’ll say what I’ve said the whole time — there is no report,” he said. “What we’ve gathered are a group of very intelligent, successful Newfoundlanders to come together and give us ideas.”

Public consultations will then be held, he said, so the people of the province will have the opportunity to weigh in.

“Mr. Crosbie said the other day on the news that he would accept some of their ideas, because it is the right thing to do,” Furey said.

He says they plan to gather evidence, consult and then act.

“That’s the kind of rational, logical thought process that we’re going to need to get out of this economic situation that we’re in,” he said.


“The voters deserve the truth before casting their ballots.” — Ches Crosbie


Crosbie said he doesn’t believe they will simply be recommendations, and quoted from a letter sent from Furey to Finance Minister Siobhan Coady dated Sept. 15, 2020, in which Furey wrote, “I ask you to work with me to oversee and implement recommendations of the Premier's Economic Recovery Team.”

Crosbie emphasized the word “implement” and said, “that’s a direct order from the boss.”

On Tuesday, Crosbie announced the PCs' plan to reduce the payroll tax for anyone who creates full-time jobs, as well as handing out a hiring tax credit.

By their calculations, their proposed tax incentives would create 1,000 new jobs, Crosbie said.

“Incentives are usually better, in my view … to intervene, to encourage behaviour that’s desirable than a more heavy-handed legislative approach,” Crosbie said in response to a question referencing a statement from Unifor that suggested this approach would do more harm than good.

Crosbie said there are many ways to address government spending, and gave the example of incentivizing public servants to retire earlier than they are currently allowed.

He said there are many in the public sector who would choose to work in the private sector if provided the opportunity.

“As you bring vibrancy back to an economy, people will migrate from public service employment,” he said.


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