2016 Newfoundland and Labrador budget protests

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2016 Newfoundland and Labrador protests
Statue of John Cabot St. John's 01.jpg
Confederation Building in St. John's, the seat of the provincial legislature and the site of a series of protests.[1]
Date14 April 2016 — ~Summer 2016
Caused by
  • Government overspending
  • Austerity
  • Deficit-reduction levy
  • Public-sector job cuts
  • High cost of living
  • May 19, 2016: Liberal MHA Paul Lane expelled from Liberal caucus due to his opposition to the levy.
  • May 25, 2016: Increased funding from the federal government reduces the number of residents who will have to pay the levy.[2]
  • June 2016: Budget passes in the House of Assembly.
Parties to the civil conflict
Newfoundland and Labrador's location in Canada. Newfoundland is the island to the east of the Canadian mainland while Labrador is the region to the northwest of Newfoundland or northeast of Quebec.

The 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador budget protests are an ongoing series of protests in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.[7] The protests are in opposition to the provincial budget proposed by Finance Minister Cathy Bennett which will implement tax-hikes and cuts to many public service jobs. The protests are a major part of the ongoing financial crisis in Newfoundland and Labrador.


The courthouse in Harbour Grace will be one of the casualties of public-sector cuts.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of Canada's oil-producing provinces and oil revenues account for a significant amount of the province's GDP. During the premiership of Danny Williams, oil prices were high and government spending increased. The province's public sector doubled in size while provincial government spending was 20-36% higher than most other provinces.[8]

The recent drop in the price of oil has caused a deficit for the province and the government does not expect to see another surplus until 2022.[9] The most recent provincial budget was unveiled by Finance Minister Cathy Bennett on April 14, 2016.[10] More than 400 public-sector jobs will be cut, tax on gasoline will be doubled, sales tax will be increased and a "deficit-reduction levy" will be introduced. This levy is an additional tax that will be imposed on residents with an annual income between $49,500 and $72,000.

Lower Churchill Project[edit]

One of the most notable mega-projects by the province under Williams is the Lower Churchill Project, a hydroelectric project in central Labrador on the Churchill River.[11] During Williams's premiership the project received lots of support from Newfoundlanders however it was much more controversial among Labradorians.[12] The position on the project taken by the Nunatsiavut government was even supported by Amnesty International. The project is being developed by Nalcor Energy and Emera. Nalcor is a provincial crown corporation based in St. John's.

The project is currently behind schedule[13] and despite the province's financial situation and the high costs of the project, it is expected to continue development.[14]

Reaction to the budget[edit]

The budget has been very controversial since its unveiling.[15][16]

Many notable people from the province have spoken out against the budget. Former Liberal Premier Roger Grimes criticized the introduction of the levy.[17]

Several public and independent groups have formed in the province. These groups are motivated by the cyclical abuse, lack of democracy and mismanagement of state since Confederation with Canada.[18]

The highly organized and functional groups or entities include; -Coordinated Approach -Mutual Aid -Free NL -Golden Arrow Community -Peoples Union -Peoples Assembly -Newfrownland.ca


Many protests by various organizations have taken place since April 2016.

Many former cabinet ministers under the Progressive Conservative government from 2003-15 have appeared at some protests (including former Premier Paul Davis) where they have often not been well received.[19][20]

Notable protest locations[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-budget-protest-may-7-confederation-building-1.3571790
  2. ^ http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=62813&latest=1
  3. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  4. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-budget-protest-may-7-confederation-building-1.3571790
  5. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/cupe-gander-budget-demonstration-john-haggie-1.3564641
  6. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/corner-brook-budget-protest-1.3559153
  7. ^ http://rabble.ca/babble/activism/newfoundland-rising-against-austerity
  8. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-budget-bad-news-1.3535718
  9. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-budget-bad-news-1.3535718
  10. ^ http://www.fin.gov.nl.ca/fin/budget/index.html
  11. ^ http://www.nalcorenergy.com/lower-churchill-project.asp
  12. ^ http://www.thelabradorian.ca/news/local/2016/5/2/_pressing-human-rights-concern.html
  13. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-falls-costs-have-gone-up-project-further-behind-schedule-1.3532028
  14. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/emera-nalcor-muskrat-falls-1.3548114
  15. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/budget-protest-tee-1.3557254
  16. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/david-cochrane-deficit-levy-liberals-1.3558119
  17. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/grimes-criticizes-liberals-budget-1.3549461
  18. ^ http://gac-nl.weebly.com/organized-political-groups.html
  19. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/confederation-building-rally-1.3546491
  20. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/russell-protest-budget-demonstration-labrador-1.3548238
  21. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  22. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  23. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/rally-at-bonavista-cna-campus-to-protest-budget-cuts-1.3560766
  24. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  25. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/clarenville-parents-protest-education-cuts-1.3582680
  26. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/corner-brook-budget-protest-1.3559153
  27. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/gambo-budget-protest-april-2016-1.3550185
  28. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  29. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/russell-protest-budget-demonstration-labrador-1.3548238
  30. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  31. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-schools-protest-budget-cuts-multi-grade-kings-cove-roncalli-beachy-cove-1.3576620
  32. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-schools-protest-budget-cuts-multi-grade-kings-cove-roncalli-beachy-cove-1.3576620
  33. ^ http://www.gulfnews.ca/news/2016/5/20/ramea-holds-protest-of-library-cut.html
  34. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-budget-protest-may-7-confederation-building-1.3571790
  35. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/protesters-here-and-now-ball-bennett-1.3563292
  36. ^ http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2016-05-18/article-4532767/Swift-Current-area-residents-to-protest-2016-budget/1
  37. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nape-budget-fight-hits-road-1.3546282
  38. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/woody-point-protests-teacher-cuts-1.3587143