HUNTER RIVER – Malpeque MP Wayne Easter challenged the Minister for ACOA, Bernard Valcourt, to explain to Islanders the elimination by his government of the critically important Central Development Corporation (CDC). Easter found the Minister’s response contemptuous to Prince Edward Island, its residents, and Islanders’ opportunities for future prosperity.
The question and response are below.
Mr. Easter’s question:
This is a government whose ideology is increasing poverty in this country, and the policies of this government are going to increase unemployment. The latest action in my area, in Prince Edward Island, of the minister responsible for ACOA with regard to closing down the economic development organizations is one of the dumbest things the government could do. Those economic development organizations, at hardly any cost, create jobs.
Central Development Corporation, CDC, last year created 130 jobs using local business as a board of directors with small assistance from the Government of Canada. What did that minister do? He cut them off. He cut all that economic development. I would accuse that minister of failing in his responsibility as the Minister of State for ACOA with regard to creating economic development.
What does the minister have to say for himself with regard to increasing unemployment in Atlantic Canada and failing in his responsibilities as minister?
Mr. Valcourt’s answer:
He is talking about the employment situation. He should talk about the situation in P.E.I. where he is from. Let us just consider 2011. During 2011 farm cash receipts in P.E.I. increased by 17.5% to $474 million, along with nearly a 60% increase in non-residential building construction investment throughout the province. That was as a result of our economic action plan.
“The Minister’s response,” stated Easter, “is both irrelevant and obtuse. Decisions made today by Minister Valourt and the Harper government, such as destroying proven efficient and effective organizations like the CDC, is detrimental to economic development in Prince Edward Island and to Islanders’ futures.
The fact that he didn’t even try to explain the reasoning behind these cuts, clearly demonstrates that this, too, is simply another example of the Harper government’s penchant to reduce services for Canadians, no matter the negative consequences that will result.”