Oil wealth being held from rural areas: NDP
Newfoundland and Labrador's wealth from the offshore oil industry is not finding its way into enough pocketbooks, argues New Democratic Party Leader Lorraine Michael.
"The government is certainly bringing in revenues from oil and gas that we've never ever had before in the province, but the revenues are not translating into adequate jobs for tradespeople and working class people," said Michael.
Michael said the disparity is particularly glaring in rural areas, which have the highest rates of unemployment in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 11.9 per cent in July, down substantially from years past but still the highest in the country.
Michael, who plans to attend Labour Day festivities Monday in St. John's, said the government's focus should include not only redistributing wealth from offshore oil, but working on reviving the fishery in meaningful ways.
"We have to have a plan in rural Newfoundland to make sure that our fishery is maintained as the backbone of rural communities," she said.
"This government doesn't have a plan, and again that's something that must be done if we are going to help rural Newfoundland and Labrador survive."
Lana Payne, president of the Federation of Labour and an NDP supporter, said a key area for government to address is training, so that a looming gap of workers can be addressed.
"It's incredibly important that folks are able to access affordable training and post-secondary education so that they are able to take advantage of the opportunities that are going to be there," Payne said.
Payne said access to job opportunities should be an issue in the Oct. 11 general election.