"I have recently become aware of a plan by the King Conservatives to relocate Skills PEI and Career Development Services (CDS) offices in the Town of O’Leary to a Mill River Location, along with about a dozen jobs that would go with them.
"Numerous career support services have been in O’Leary for many years dating back to the location of Employment and Immigration Canada at Access PEI O’Leary in the 1980s, and have grown to today to include Service Canada, PEI Social Services, Career Bridges, Career Development Services and Skills PEI.
"These offices are all within the incorporated boundaries of the Town of O’Leary, providing individuals requiring such services with one stop access. Quite often, individuals wanting to attend a program require changes to their EI or documentation verification by Skills PEI which can happen quickly with a visit to the necessary service within the community.
"Relocating these offices would also have a negative economic impact on the local economy since staff and clients connected to the offices support small businesses there such as restaurants and grocery stores.
"What’s more concerning is on the eve of a provincial election, no communication was provided by the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture to the O’Leary mayor and town council, the MP or myself as the MLA who represents the area. It seems the King government is trying to sneak through these changes amidst the disarray in our health-care system.
"I can assure residents and businesses that I will fight this plan and reverse this move under a new Liberal government.
"It’s one thing for private businesses to choose where they want to operate from but an entirely another thing when the provincial government chooses to leave an incorporated municipality to go to an unincorporated community in a rural location causing extra traffic at an already busy and confusing intersection. This would be the equivalent of moving a Charlottetown government office from University Avenue to Brookfield.
"The province should be setting an example and I’m calling on Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox, who is responsible for municipalities, to inform the premier and his cabinet colleagues of the bad example this is setting in the province."
Robert Henderson, MLA