The Official Opposition is calling for the Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Trevor Holder, to publicly apologize for his offensive comments about social workers and the social work programs offered at New Brunswick Universities.
“The statements made by Minister Holder have been described as ‘really slanderous’ by STU President Dawn Russell, the Director of the School of Social work at l’Université de Moncton, Lise Savoie, has called for a public apology and the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers has said their members feel hurt by these unacceptable comments” says Liberal Opposition Social Development Critic, Robert Gauvin. “Minister Holder has not only insulted our New Brunswick Universities and their graduates, but he has also offended social workers and those currently working with income assistance clients. He has yet to express any kind of remorse about what he said.”
During a meeting with university presidents, the Minister openly criticized the Social Work program at STU by saying the graduates working with income assistance clients don’t have the skills necessary to get people off social assistance.
“The role of a social worker goes far beyond helping people get off social assistance and it’s ridiculously insulting to reduce the value of their profession that way. Social workers care for people, they work in child protection, domestic violence, mental health and so much more” says Robert Gauvin. “The Minister needs to apologize. His lack of remorse for his comments speaks volumes to his character and to the attitude of this government.”
After criticizing Saint Thomas University’s program, Minister Holder then proposed that l’Université de Moncton create a social work program as a potential solution to the problem.
“Not only did Minister Holder openly insult STU’s social work program, but he also then suggested Université de Moncton establish a social work program to help the situation,” said Jacques LeBlanc, the Official Opposition critic for Post-Secondary Education. “UdeM has had a social work program since 1968. Its ridiculous that the Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour doesn’t know this.”