Fredericton: The last round of cuts to the Department of Transportation Winter Maintenance Program will affect the safety of New Brunswickers, especially those living in the rural communities.
“This is a major blow to the Winter Maintenance Program. The government can’t pretend anymore that a $4 million cut will not affect the level of services”, said Gordon Black, Regional Director for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in New Brunswick.
“These cuts mean that the roads would not be plowed as often as they are right now. The Department will have fewer plows on the roads during the storms. It also means that plow operators will have to wait longer before they hit the roads. The government is even cutting on the use of salt”, said Black.
“The government is gambling with the life of New Brunswickers in more than one way. Many workers will lose their jobs with these latest cuts adding to the hardship.”
“We are very concerned about the safety on our roads. Hours of operation at many Health Community Centers have been reduced, which means New Brunswickers will have to travel further to get services, and ambulances will also have to travel longer distance.”
“Furthermore, 178 rural roads with two houses or less will not be plowed anymore. This is another example of the government’s attitude towards rural New Brunswick. Bit by bit, this government is abandoning the rural communities.”
“The government is pretending that the services are being fairly and equally provided around the province.”
“These latest cuts are the results of the regressive tax reform we have in this province. We need to go back to a progressive tax system where everybody paid their fair share of taxes in order to really provide fairly and equally public services in this province”.
Now the Finance Minister wants to add an additional burden on low income in New Brunswick by bringing back tolls on our highways.” Finance Minister Blain Higgs is calling the deficit situation “unacceptable and unsustainable”.
“We believe that what is really “unacceptable and unsustainable” is the government’s refusal to increase taxes for large corporations and high earners in New Brunswick”, concluded Black.