NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael took the provincial government to task today for its announcement last Friday that it was agreeing to a decision by the federal government to pay this province only about a third of the amount previously committed by the federal government to compensate for losses expected in the fishery industry as a result of the upcoming Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union. Today marked the first sitting of the provincial House of Assembly since then; NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael brought the subject to Question Period.
“I was shocked to hear the announcement on Friday that government has abandoned minimum processing requirements for fish shipped to the European Union, and let the Federal government off the hook for its $280 million commitment to this province,” Michael said in the House today.
“I ask the Premier, can he explain how $100 million in federal funding is better than $280 million?” While the politicians at the event emphasized other things that federal funding would be coming, Michael says, “The federal Liberal election platform promised improved funding for Coast Guard and Search and Rescue in addition to promising to honour the previous government's commitment for a $280 million fisheries fund for this province.” She says the people of the province deserve better representation from the government they elected.
“Whether it’s the federal Liberals’ divide-and-conquer federalism on the Health Accord, or slashing $180 million from their promised fisheries development fund, the Premier is first in line to cheerlead for his federal cousins,” she said. “When will he start going to bat for Newfoundland and Labrador in Ottawa, instead of going to bat for Ottawa in Newfoundland and Labrador?”