Nfld. & Labrador

'Literally thousands' of messages of support, says MHA Paul Lane on budget decision

The now-independent MHA for Mount Pearl-Southlands made a lengthy Facebook post Monday, addressing his constituents and people of the province after he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus.

'All the people want is for the measures taken to be fair and reasonable,' reads Facebook post

MHA Paul Lane is now sitting as an independent, after he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus for moving to vote against the budget. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The now-independent MHA for Mount Pearl-Southlands made a lengthy Facebook post Monday, addressing his constituents and people of the province after he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus.

Paul Lane is now sitting as an independent, after he said last week he would be voting against the Liberal budget.

According to the Facebook post, which has been shared hundreds of times just hours after posting, Lane has received "literally thousands of emails, Facebook/Twitter messages and telephone calls" from people supporting his decision to vote against the budget.

Lane said before making his decision, he had suffered from sleepless nights and headaches while trying to rationalize how the budget was fair to all people of the province.

All the people want is for the measures taken to be fair and reasonable.- Paul Lane

"Should the citizens of our province expect a reasonable quality of life or has it come down to mere subsistence?" Lane wrote.

"And how can government justify this debt reduction levy which unfairly taxes the middle class while giving the wealthy a relatively free ride?"

In particular, Lane said the main demographic in his district is made up of middle-class families, and he said they would be "feeling the brunt" of tax increases and fees.

"Everyone knows we are in rough financial shape. Everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and do their part to help fix the problem. All the people want is for the measures taken to be fair and reasonable."

Lane outlined some key points in the budget he couldn't support, including full-day kindergarten, which he said was a new expense that, while needed, could have waited until the province's finances were better.

'Encouraging them to step back'

Since the budget was announced, there have been multiple protests outside Confederation Building. (NLFL)

In addition, he said he couldn't support a book tax, when he saw no proof that a tax on junk food would have worked.

Finance Minister Cathy Bennett previously said government considered a junk food tax, but would need to implement a new administrative level that isn't available in Canada to collect that tax — a financial burden the cash-strapped province couldn't afford.

Lane also pointed the finger at the $750,000 bill being footed for a new study into a fixed-link to Labrador.

"Whether we think it's good or bad, needed or not, viable or not, the question is; given our current financial circumstance, is this the best time to invest in this study?"

He added he's spoken with other MHAs who aren't in agreement with the budget, and has encouraged them to follow in his footsteps.

"Just as I have privately communicated to them over the last few weeks, I am now publicly encouraging them to step back, take a deep breath and reconsider some of the choices they have made. Listen to the people who have given them the privilege to represent their best interests."

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