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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Newfoundland & Labrador Shut out of Atlantic Gateway Initiative?

The more things change the more they stay the same in Newfoundland and Labrador, or more precisely, WITH Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

Based on a recent article in the St. John’s Telegram and from information provided by the Liberal MP from Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, it appears the province may well be shut out of Billions of dollars in funding for the Atlantic Gateway project approved by Ottawa and the provinces nearly 4 years ago.

Excerpts from the St. John’s Telegram:

In October 2007, Trevor Taylor — then Newfoundland and Labrador’s minister of innovation, trade and rural development — signed an agreement with the three other Atlantic provinces and the federal government to develop the roads, railways and ports necessary to make the region a hub of international trade.

Peter MacKay, the Nova Scotia Member of Parliament and minister responsible for what was called the Atlantic Gateway, called the concept a “smarter approach.”

“Atlantic Canada has some very able people here now that are going to put their shoulder to the wheel and get the gateway rolling,” he said at the time.

All four Atlantic provinces are working together, pulling together and moving in the same direction with the federal government.” (The italics added by Web Talk)

Three and a half years later, the gateway is rolling, with projects underway or approved, 17 in all, worth a total of $229.2 million. In New Brunswick: seven projects, $126.2 million. In Nova Scotia: six projects, $92.5 million. In Prince Edward Island: four projects, $10.5 million. In Newfoundland and Labrador: zero projects, zero dollars.

The list of projects funded through the Gateways and Board Crossings Fund, obtained Tuesday from Transport Canada through a request made by members of the standing committee on transportation, infrastructure and communities, lists the individual projects and their costs.

That includes $87.5 million to twin 55 kilometres of Route 1 in New Brunswick, $36.5 million to upgrade and expand cargo handling services at the Port of Halifax, and $4.5 million for Route 1 realignment and intersection installation on Prince Edward Island.

Gerry Byrne, the Liberal MP for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte and a member of the standing committee, called Newfoundland and Labrador’s exclusion disturbing. He said he obtained the list when he and two other Liberal members of the committee requested an update on the strategy for the fund — which he said is about $800 million out of $2.1 billion in a broader fund that includes Ontario and Quebec.

The list of projects include airport work in Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick, announced late last month while the St. John’s Airport Authority’s 2009 request for help funding a new $25-million instrumentation landing system, which would help more planes land in foggy weather, has been unfulfilled.

Fraser Edison, chairman of the airport authority’s board of directors, said the economic benefits of getting the work done at the St. John’s airport should be clear, but they’ve been stymied for funding.

“As of today, nothing. No word whatsoever on it,” he said. “This would increase five per cent in the accessibility of the airport, and five per cent represents 70,000 passengers and 700 flights (a year).”

Likewise, the lack of roadwork approved is a sore spot for the Newfoundland and Labrador Road Builders’ Association, too.

Austin Sheppard, the association's business manager, says the province’s exclusion “leaves a sour taste.”

“I am heading off to meetings in Moncton in early May for the Atlantic Road Builders, and that’s one topic that always comes up for discussion,” he said.
The briefing notes from the deputy minister mentions federal commitments to Marine Atlantic, about $521 million, and Byrne says it seems as though the federal government considers that Newfoundland’s share of the Gateway fund.

“If that’s the case, that’s completely unacceptable. We have a constitutional right to that ferry service. The Atlantic Gateway funding is a discretionary program to build up Atlantic Canadian export capacity through improved transportation mechanisms,” he said.

“I think within the department they are actually building in the Marine Atlantic funding as Newfoundland and Labrador’s share. That’s not acceptable. … That ferry service is not a discretionary service of the government of Canada.”

Gerry Byrne: “Is it really the Maritime Gateway? Or is it the Atlantic Gateway?”


Anonymous said...

I like to see you do a story on East Coast Oil. I saw an article this week in our local newspaper touting East Coast Oil. Where is East Coast Oil produced anyway, does anybody, other than Newfoundlanders and Labradorians , know? My beef is why is it referred to as East Coast Oil, to my knowledge there is no other Oil wells producing anywhere in Eastern Canada other than in the offshore waters of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Please correct me if I have overlooked some other place. No matter where you hear our oil spoken off, it is always referred to as East Coast oil. I listen to BNN Business News Network) 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) and when our Oil is the topic, it is always referred to as East Coast Oil. Anybody listening, who doesn't have any clue about where those oil wells are, and that is most of Canadians and the rest of the World, probably think it is Nova Scotia or Ontario. For that matter, since Ontario is usually referred to as the East and really anywhere east of Ontario is the Atlantic provinces, but then of course there is the other namesake the Maritimes, and I guess that one was designed to leave Newfoundland and Labrador out of certain deals.

Myles I am sick of our province contributing so much to Canada but not getting any Thanks for anything and getting none of the infrastructure handed out by the Ottawa government. All of Newfoundland and Labrador's natural resources are shipped out of our province in the raw state and processed and manufactured elsewhere. Our human resource goes along with those raw materials and so do the resulting economy and jobs.

Is the average Newfoundlander and Labradorian asleep to allow this to go on for over 60 years? It is time for us to wake up and take control of our lives, a Nova Scotian by the name of Peter McKay certainly won't do it for us, his province is one of the reasons we failed to thrived in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"The Final Breath":

This could be the final breath,

This is life and death,

This is hard rock and water,

Out here between wind and flame,

Between tears and elation,

Lies a secret nation.

Just another reminder to me Myles as to why we should not be apart of a country that has not kept one word or promise since Term 17 was denied.

We became part of a nation of liars and thieves.

" Republic Of "

Anonymous said...

Question....what do Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need to do to rectify this obscene problem? Think about it!!