Judy Foote, Opposition Critic for Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
and MHA for the District of Grand Bank, says the recent announcement of
funding allocations under the Community Enhancement Program (CEP) is very
disappointing. Foote indicated that of the $877,000 in applications that
were made in the District of Grand Bank, only $67,000 was granted for these
Foote says that while over $1 million was taken from this year’s
CEP and allocated to help workers adjust to the closure of the FPI plant in
Fortune, this money would not have been required if government had enforced
the provisions of the FPI Act to keep the Fortune plant in operation. She
also referenced the fact that the community of Fortune did not make any
application under the CEP, however, the situation on the Burin Peninsula is
so desperate that 13 other communities in her district were forced to apply
for almost $900,000 in funding.
"Many of my constituents, and the Burin Peninsula in general, have been
hard hit with the closure of fish plants, economic decline and the downturn
in the oil and gas industry," said Ms. Foote. "Thirteen communities and
local development organizations in my district made application for funding
under the CEP in an attempt to improve local infrastructure needs and
provide some short-term employment to help local residents. The situation is
desperate and getting worse everyday while government stands by and watches.
The decision to provide $67,000 to address almost $900,000 worth of
applications from my district demonstrates this government’s failure to
acknowledge the difficult circumstances facing people living in rural parts
of our province.
"As people leave our province in record numbers, it is amazing to see how
little our government is doing to stop outmigration. The CEP is a program
that is designed to help rural areas with infrastructure upgrades, while
ensuring people requiring hours of work can stay in the province. I fear
this year’s announcement will do little to provide this necessary short-term
employment and will force many families to leave their communities in search
of work outside Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, the people of
Fortune are still no better off than they were a year ago. Government still
has no plan in place to address their circumstance, and have instead decided
to raid the CEP pot and take money from other communities instead of
addressing the bigger problem.
"I am certain that MHA Clyde Jackman also has a tremendous need for CEP
funding in his district, yet I have heard nothing as to whether he feels the
applications in his district received an appropriate level of investment. I
am calling on Minister Jackman to show some support for the people of the
Burin Peninsula and lobby to have more money allocated that will help more
communities in our region, and throughout the province."