On Monday April 24, Saskatchewan Education Minister Don Morgan announced that the provincial government would be completely restoring the $4.8 million in funding cuts to Saskatchewan’s libraries.
Don Morgan was quoted by CBC as saying, “We’ve heard from people pretty clearly that they value the library in its present form. It’s important for them not just to have the electronic capability, but they also want to have the physical space to go to.” Morgan also told reporters, “As I’ve indicated earlier, we’re not afraid to admit we made a mistake on something.”
CUPE is calling on Premier Ball and Minister Bennet to follow the lead of the Saskatchewan Provincial Government and admit that the funding reduction and closure of 54 libraries as a result of the 2016 budget was also a mistake, immediately restore funding to the province’s libraries and reinvest in the library system for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Ball government announced on April 27, 2016 that over half of the province’s libraries would be closing. On June 30, 2016, the decision was suspended and review of the library system by Ernst and Young was announced.
CUPE Local 2329 President Dawn Lahey says, “This provincial government has also heard loudly and clearly from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that our libraries are valued; indeed, they are cherished. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians deserve a vibrant library system which meets their needs. They deserve to at least maintain their current level of service.”
President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Wayne Lucas says, “I cannot believe that this government has still not dealt with this issue, so many months after the cuts were announced. It is clear what the people have said, and it is high time that the Ball Government stand up and admit that they, too, made a mistake.”
Members of CUPE Local 2329 have been waiting since April 2016 to find out whether they will continue to have a job. Lahey also says, “It is high time that these women are told what is going to become of their employment. It has been extremely difficult to have this axe hanging over their heads for all this time; they deserve to know that the Government is going to listen to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and commit to our cherished library system.”