MHA Joan Shea is defending the provincial government's appointment of Ross Reid to lead its population growth strategy against accusations from the opposition that it is political patronage.

According to Shea, the province is expecting approximately 70,000 job openings between 2013 and 2020, but the province's current population cannot fill these openings.

Government said possible solutions to this labour gap, such as improving child care policies and increasing immigration, will be investigated by the new deputy minister and his department.

Opposition members are critical of the new department, calling it political patronage for a long-time Tory organizer.

Shea was a guest on this week's On Point with David Cochrane to discuss the reason behind the appointment and why the government feels it is an important undertaking.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees raised its stakes in its negotiations with the provincial government by releasing an ad that accuses the government of claiming finances are worse than they really are.

NAPE President Carol Furlong said that government is sending out two messages about the province's finances, depending on what group they are talking to.

She said that when government is talking to groups like the St. John's Board of Trade, they claim they have money for investments, but when addressing the public, they're claiming the money is tight and layoffs will be necessary to tighten the financial belt.

Furlong was on this week's episode of On Point to discuss NAPE's perspective on the current financial situation.