On Point | Civil servants losing jobs
More than 100 civil servants were laid of last week during the provincial government's cuts, and these initial layoffs were just the beginning.
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy said they do not have a specific target in mind for the number of cuts, and government is still taking different factors into account.
"This is a difficult time for everyone," Kennedy said. "This is tough. In my six years in politics now, this has been one of the toughest jobs I've had to do."
Kennedy said they're hoping to leave as many front-line workers in both the education and health care system as possible.
"One of the common complaints you hear in these health boards is there [are] too many management [positions], so we're looking at that," he said.
"At this stage, we're trying to ensure that health services are impacted as little as possible, and the same way with the teachers in our schools."
Panel weighs in
Shawn Skinner, a former Tory MHA, said government is using the only option available to them to guarantee reduced spending.
"I'm not so sure that the government has an alternative, in terms of how they're going to do it," Skinner said. "They've indicated that they want to reduce the size of the civil service, it's my understanding that they've started with some contract and temporary positions."
He said that people are not going to be happy when jobs are being taken away, but that government is trying to do it in such a way that the impact on the full-time worker will be minimal.
However, former Liberal MP Siobhan Coady said cutting the cost of 1,000 civil servants will result in small cuts for government, but huge impacts on workers.
"Rather than looking at some of the long-term core deficit problems and debt problems that this government has, they're taking it small, minor cuts, but that are huge for individuals," Coady said.
Lana Payne, president of Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, said government is sending mixed messages to the public.
"If the government wanted kind of chaos and confusion, and for the people of the province to actually think that they don't know what they're doing, they're doing a really good job," Payne said.
According to Payne, money is not being used in the best possible way during a time when government is trying to get the budget under control.
"A dental program for poor seniors was cut back to worse than what it was prior to the improvements being made in 2011 … and in that same week, they award a contract to a company for $4 million to try to find extra cuts," she said.
Skinner, Coady and Payne were on the panel during this week's On Point with David Cochrane.