Nfld. & Labrador

Liberals 'telling people what they want to hear,' says Davis

Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis says the Liberal's financial plan is entirely unfeasible and public servants should be concerned about job cuts under a Liberal government.
PC Leader Paul Davis, with Steve Kent, criticized the Liberal costing plan during a healthcare announcement on Monday. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis says the Liberal's financial plan is entirely unfeasible and public servants should be concerned about job cuts under a Liberal government.

"They're telling people what they want to hear. They've giving answers that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want to feel good about," said Davis.

"There's no way they can make this plan work, there's no way it can happen."

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball released the party's costing plan on Sunday, which included a $270-million larger deficit than what's projected in Budget 2015, and $380 million in cuts to unspecified "government waste."

Davis said that 70 per cent of government operating costs are in salaries, and if the Liberals want to find $380 million, they'll likely have to chop some jobs.

"If I was a public servant I'd be very concerned about this because if you listen very carefully to their language, 'Well we haven't talked about cuts. Well, we don't intend on doing cuts,'" he said.

"How are they going to create $380 million in reduced costs for government? That's a significant amount of reductions and we don't know — the devil's in the details and they're not providing them."

Liberals promise unrealistic revenues: Davis

The Liberal plan still promises to balance the budget by 2017-2018, which Davis says is impossible with all the party's extra costs. Ball promises to bring in an extra $359 million over the next four years from economic diversification.

"I'd say people want to buy into that plan, but there's no substance of how they're going to do it," said Davis. "What business can turn around, make an $8-million investment, and make tens of millions of dollars the next year?"

Davis also called out the Liberals' lack of funding for a new Waterford Hospital, a cost he estimates will be around $500 million.

"I was quite surprised actually because they've been beating that drum quite heavily for some time," he said.

"What they're saying is they've got to create a plan, which they've said several times in their document, but still don't have any financing or funding attached to it. I can't square how they're going to create the financials that they've claimed to."

PCs announce 360 more long-term care beds for seniors

Davis responded to the Liberal plan at an announcement on Monday,at which he promised to create 360 new long-term care beds for seniors if re-elected.

Those beds would create new spaces in Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and St. John's.

In addition, Davis said the Tories would phase out the requirement for seniors to utilize their liquid assets when admitted into government long-term care facilities.

There will be no compromises, no erosion or services, nothing but the best in care for seniors.- Paul Davis

"In other words, if we are re-elected to government, seniors needing long-term care will be able to hold on to their savings," he said. "That is a significant policy change."

Davis cited ads from the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) that are against any privatization of long-term care that he said claim any privatization would "erode the quality of care" for seniors.

However, Davis said "not on his watch" would that be the case.

"The quality of care our seniors and long-term care residents will receive for as long as I am premier will be second to none," he said.

"There will be no compromises, no erosion or services, nothing but the best in care for the seniors of Newfoundland and Labrador as long as I am premier."

Davis said the Tories would also establish a program to support 50+ clubs and services to help seniors transitions from their homes to smaller accommodations to live independently in their community longer if they so choose.

Becoming 'fittest province'

Davis said his party would also expand access to school counsellors and mental health workers in the province's K-12 system.

He said the PCs would "collaborate with students and teachers" to get a better understanding of what kinds of services young people in schools need.

"We will develop mental health curriculum for students and training to equip teachers with the skills for early intervention," he said.

Davis added there will also be an emphasis on healthy eating and fitness, and seek additional funding from the private sector and the federal government to meet that goal.

"Our goal is to become Canada's fittest province, and we will get there by taking a multi-level collaborative approach with others in the community," said Davis.

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