Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, one of the many issues that arose as I campaigned was the government had already stripped its workforce to the bare minimum. Mr. Speaker, the people I talked with thought that any more cuts to staff would impact the ability of the departments to deliver the programming.
Mr. Speaker, the people thought that, if anything, the government had already cut programming too close to the bone. This becomes apparent when you look at the one example of the cuts addiction services received over the life of the last Assembly. We may have gone too far.
As the Member with possibly the most experience within the labour movement, Mr. Speaker, it is natural that I would be expected to take the lead on labour issues emanating from this side of the House and would become the contact point for the Union of Northern Workers.
I understand the pressures the uncertainty over whether there will be any further reductions in government employees is placing on my former brothers and sisters in the Union of Northern Workers. Mr. Speaker, it is hard, in fact impossible, to plan your life if you are not sure whether you will have a job two or three months down the road.
The Union has been looking for assurances there would be no further layoffs to the Northwest Territories hardworking public service. Mr. Speaker, the Union had thought they had the support for no reductions in the public service, as a result of a poll they took of candidates during the election.
In that poll, Mr. Speaker, the Union asked the candidates whether they supported cutting government jobs to balance the budget. The majority of the successful candidates the Union managed to contact on both sides of the House, gave a simple "no" answer. A couple of current MLAs qualified their answer by saying not without further study on the issue.
The point I am trying to make, Mr. Speaker, is that this promise to the electorate should have made it relatively easy for me to shop a non-binding motion to my fellow MLAs on no more cuts to the civil service for the upcoming fiscal year. This was not the case.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure my constituents I have not forgotten the promises I made. I will fight any further reductions to the public service.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to encourage the government to make a statement reassuring the public service sector as soon as possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.