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Ches Crosbie speaks to CBN Joint Council

Ches Crosbie was Upper Island Cove Wednesday night, Oct. 25, to speak to attendees of the monthly Conception Bay North Joint Council meeting.
Ches Crosbie was Upper Island Cove Thursday night, Oct. 25, to speak to attendees of the monthly Conception Bay North Joint Council meeting. - Chris Lewis

Leader of opposition addresses platform topics, province’s population issues


Ches Crosbie stopped in to Upper Island Cove last night to have a discussion with people at this month’s joint council meeting.

On Thursday night, Oct. 25, opposition party leader Ches Crosbie made a presentation during the monthly Conception Bay North Joint Council meeting. Crosbie was elected for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador in April 2018 after announcing his candidacy for the position, replacing former leader Paul Davis.

During Thursday night’s meeting, Crosbie spoke briefly on his recent successes in becoming leader of the opposition, and the intricacies of his platform, followed by a period of time where attendees of the meeting had the opportunity to raise their own concerns about the province to see where Crosbie stood on issues that mattered to those in the region.

“Like many of the people in this room, we know that it takes a lot of commitment. It takes the desire to get up and go, and a desire to improve the community you live in,” Crosbie said, addressing the crowd of people – the vast majority of which were council members or representatives of various communities in the region. “I’m sure most people in this room have spent their lives doing that type of thing, and doing it in the belief that they’re doing something constructive and useful for the people they know and love.”

Crosbie went on to explain that his reasoning for entering politics after a lengthy career as a lawyer was likely not that different than the reasons councillors at the meeting had taken on their positions – to make a contribution, and a difference, to people in their respective regions.

Crosbie listed things such as lowered taxes, affordable energy, and Muskrat Falls as some of the top priorities on his platform.

“Government is one of those things where you’re always trying to raise the bar, and in fact that’s the process that we’re going through right now, with the various reports that have been tabled about the complaints that people have made about each other,” he said, speaking on the current state of politics in the province. “That’s an exercise in trying to raise the bar on people’s conduct and on what the standards are for civilized interaction between members of the House of Assembly.”

“We’re facing the problem of fiscal imbalance and running continual deficits, we’re facing Muskrat Falls and what to do about power rates coming out of that, and in fact we’re facing the problem of what kind of future we have, and whether we even do have a future,” he added to the list of issues he hopes to tackle in the future. “We’re losing population, and this is an issue that involves our families, our young people, our kids, and also our older people who find that their children have all moved away, all while asking themselves why they’re staying here.”

The issue of the province’s steadily decreasing population was a particular problem Crosbie spoke of during the meeting, noting that the high taxes residents of the province are facing was something he felt was pushing people away, alongside all the other “doom and gloom” he feels Newfoundlanders are faced with.

Maintaining, and potentially increasing the population was of particular importance to Crosbie, stating that if the province is not growing, then it is moving backwards. He says that in order to do this, jurisdictions need to be competitive with other jurisdictions in the country.

As for the potential of a trash tax, Crosbie also spoke to how his party would tackle this, if they were to come into government.

“It’s our position that, should we come into government, we’re going to appoint a commissioner to hear the concerns that people have about this, and look at the best practices in other areas of the island, and outside the island, to come up with the best possible solution we can.”

On top of this, Crosbie also spoke to the responsibility of the opposition to criticize, with the ultimate goal of improving things and keeping the government on its toes, something he says the party will continue to do as time goes on.

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