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Senator Catherine Callbeck.
Island Senator Catherine Callbeck wants the federal government to come clean about the disproportionate number of federal jobs being cut on P.E.I.
Callbeck tried again to get an answer during Question Period in the Senate last week, a week dominated by the Senate scandal in the chamber of sober second thought.
“I asked you a question last week about the concerns of Islanders – that we are being treated unfairly by federal public service job cuts than other provinces,” said Callbeck. “With all due respect, you did not answer my question.”
Callbeck had asked about Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s summer visit to the Island, where he dismissed the concerns of Island business leaders about the impact of federal job cuts. He told them that he knew what the impacts would be, but he would not share his figures.
Last year’s McInnes Cooper report estimated that the province could lose between 379 and 458 positions on P.E.I. by 2015, or about 10 to 12 per cent of the current permanent federal workforce.
But in the rest of the country, the cuts will make up less than five per cent of the federal workforce.
“P.E.I. should not be bearing more than its fair share of these federal job cuts,” said Callbeck. “In a province where the unemployment rate is currently more than 11 per cent, the loss of hundreds of well-paying jobs will be a real blow to the economy.”
The most recent annual report for the Public Service Commission shows that P.E.I. lost more than six per cent of its permanent federal public service jobs in 2011-2012, which was more than twice the national average.