Nfld. & Labrador

Labrador Affairs office closed in Wabush over holidays has NDP asking questions

The government-operated Labrador Affairs office in Wabush was shut down over the holidays, leaving the provincial NDP with questions as to why. 

Position of executive director also eliminated

Jordan Brown, MHA for Labrador West, is calling for Premier Dwight Ball to reinstate the Labrador Affairs Secretariat in Wabush after the office was closed over the holidays. (CBC)

The government-operated Labrador Affairs office in Wabush was shut down over the holidays, leaving the provincial NDP with questions as to why. 

The position of executive director was eliminated as well. 

The Labrador Affairs Secretariat is a government body that "focuses on advocating for the social and economic development of Labrador while providing advice on government policies, planning and programs that impact Labrador," according to the Newfoundland and Labrador government's website. 

NDP MHA for Labrador West, Jordan Brown, is calling on Premier Dwight Ball to reinstate the office and give the job to an MHA representing Labrador to ensure there is a dedicated minister remaining in the region to handle the portfolio.

"Clearly Labradorians are not a priority of this government," Brown said in a news release on Thursday morning. 

According to Brown the Liberal Party eliminated an administrative position from the office in 2016. The executive director position was the last remaining in the Wabush location.

The Liberal government said the office in Wabush is no longer needed after the economy recovered when the mine re-opened. (CBC)

On Thursday afternoon the provincial Liberals responded.

Government confirmed that the position of executive director based in Labrador West, originally created in 2012 to focus on improving on the economic downturn after prices of iron ore plummeted, is no longer required.

The province said the economy in the region recovered after investment and reopening of the Wabush mine.

"The deputy minister position for Labrador Affairs Secretariat, which was created by the current administration, remains in place in Happy Valley-Goose Bay," government said in an e-mailed statement to CBC News. 

"Along with other staff who support the entire Labrador region and is responsible for the development, implementation and administration of provincial policies and programs respecting Labrador issues."

Brown said the office handled major files which are important to Labrador West and Labrador as a whole.

He said residents of the area now feel alienated.

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