CUPE New Brunswick is appalled to see that New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves has no plan to use budget surpluses to fix staffing crisis in public services.

“Minister Steeves has let the provincial fiscal surplus balloon up to an obscene 862.6 million dollars by starving front-line services from desperately needed resources and staffing,” said Stephen Drost, President of CUPE NB. “This is not only irresponsible, but also jeopardizing what made that surplus possible: population growth,” added Drost. 

Too many public-sector workers are working short, may they be provincial plow operators, school bus drivers, nursing home care staff or social workers. “This Minister is not taking a balanced approach. He is focusing on debt reduction only, and leaving budget dust for services to residents,” denounced Drost.

CUPE NB wants Ernie Steeves to actually do something about the rising cost of living for workers. When you have strong population growth, governments should have an adequate response to consolidate it, without forgetting the existing population who now feels extra pressure, like fewer childcare spaces per resident, rent increases or less long-term care spaces per capita. “Public service growth should follow population expansion, not run against it. Steeves is really disconnected from what most New Brunswickers are dealing with,” concluded Drost.