Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Minister Holder should apologize

In a recent article in the St. Thomas University student newspaper The Aquinian, the provincial Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour made statements that are not only incorrect, but show a disdain for the hardworking people of New Brunswick.
In the article, Holder blames the university’s Bachelor of Social Work program for the amount of New Brunswickers on social assistance. He’s quoted as saying:
“social services employees working in income assistance don’t seem to have the skills necessary to get those clients off of social assistance.”
This shows a complete lack of understanding of the profession of social work and how government works. It places all the blame on those working within the system and none of it on the system itself. It should be noted that Holder has been an MLA since 1999. He should understand the constraints people work under and, if he believes changes needed to be made, well, he’s been in a prime position to do so for 22 years.
Later in the article, Holder puts his lack of understanding on display again stating:
“Holder turned to the new president of the Université de Moncton, Denis Prud’homme, saying “we’re going to need you Denis to establish a social work program [which] will deal with the issue,” to which Higgs and the ADM nodded to.
But the Université de Moncton already has a social work program.
Is the Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour unaware of the programs offered at New Brunswick universities. You would hope a basic understanding of the files you’re responsible for as a minister is the least we can expect of our elected officials.
Perhaps Minister Holder should take the advice the Minister of Education Dominic Cardy has given to some members from opposing parties during debates and educate himself before speaking.
The New Brunswick Union represents hardworking social workers in the public school system and hospitals. They help New Brunswickers each and every day. Perhaps Holder could speak with some of them about the constraints they face and changes to the system that should be made.
This would be a constructive use of his time rather than criticizing and taking no responsibility for having been an elected official for more than two decades and not improving the system.
The New Brunswick Union is asking for the Minister to take responsibility for his comments and apologize.