N.L. labour leader quits premier's economic task force, citing lack of transparency

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A major labour leader has resigned from a government task force created to map out a recovery plan for Newfoundland and Labrador's struggling economy.

Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour president Mary Shortall said today in a news release she is quitting the team, claiming it lacks transparency and has a top-down approach.

Shortall, whose federation represents nearly 30 unions and more than 70,000 workers, says she couldn't participate on the team and continue in good faith to represent workers in the province.

The task force, created by Premier Andrew Furey, has been controversial since he appointed Moya Greene as its chair, who is known for privatizing the United Kingdom's Royal Mail service while she was chief executive officer.

A spokeswoman for Furey said in an email today the premier was disappointed about Shortall's decision to leave the team, but did not address her allegations.

Shortall says a non-disclosure agreement prevents her from commenting on the specifics of the committee's deliberations.

"The recommendations that will be made by (Greene) may very well shape the next several decades of the type of economy and society we will live in,” Shortall said in the release, adding it is "imperative" the voices of workers and marginalized groups are considered in any recovery plan.

"Most importantly, it must be real collaboration and consultation, not simply window dressing," she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press