The leaders of Newfoundland and Labrador’s two opposition parties say they are against any plans to allow casino gambling in the province.
"No matter what decision we make when we look at things like casinos, I think we have to look at it not just under the potential revenue stream, as an example here,” Liberal Leader Dwight Ball told reporters outside the legislature.
“There's always the social lens that we need to consider every time we do this. And a casino is certainly something that I would see we would need to take a very hard look at. Right now, I do not support setting up a casino in the province."
'Right now, I do not support setting up a casino in the province.' - Liberal Leader Dwight Ball
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said the province should not be considering a new form of gambling when it has still not yet dealt with the problems that already exist.
"It's very disturbing to hear the minister of finance today basically say we have a no casino policy, but then said we would study anything that comes towards us because we are open for business,” Michael noted.
“That says to me they do not have a no casino policy."
Michael said she wants Premier Tom Marshall to speak out on the issue.
In 2010, when he was finance minister, Marshall said the province would not consider any applications for a casino.
Marshall was out of the province Monday for a meeting of Atlantic premiers.
Casino proposals could be considered
Both leaders were reacting to comments by Finance Minister Charlene Johnson.
Johnson told CBC News the province would at least consider proposals for a casino.
“I think it's fair to review any proposal that comes in, whether it be for a casino or what have you,” Johnson said.
“I think we have an obligation if somebody puts that level of work and detail into a formal proposal, I think it's only fair to review that. Our current policy is no casinos, but we'd have to give it a fair look.”
That’s a contrast from the previous stand of the Progressive Conservative government to flatly reject the concept.
Johnson noted that the current policy banning casinos remains in effect for now, and there would be public consultations before any potential changes.