Atlantic Canada’s fishing community scores well in the federal budget brought down on Tuesday, says the Liberal MP for Egmont.
Bobby Morrissey, in a telephone interview from Ottawa, said the budget takes into consideration concerns raised by the Atlantic Liberal caucus and is committing $250 million over two years, beginning this year, for Small Craft Harbours projects
“The money that was there, it was keeping up, but that’s all it was doing. It was difficult to do significant structural repair to some harbours,” Morrissey said.
He noted the additional funding will assist with structural work needed at Skinners Pond and Seacow Pond and with smaller projects such as Higgins Wharf and Fishing Cove. Dredging work, he added, is an ongoing issue which the additional funds will help address.
There’s also additional money committed to hire more fisheries protection officers, he said.
Morrissey, who called the budget good for P.E.I. and good for Atlantic Canadians, is pleased government is taking steps in the budget to address the gap in Employment Insurance, where some claimants’ benefits expire before the work period resumes.
The budget sets aside $80 million this year and $150 million the following year to assist key provinces in co-developing and testing local solutions. There will also be amendments made to the Working While on Claim pilot rules to allow claimants to keep a greater share of wage earnings while on claim.
On a national level, Morrissey said the budget promises to study the patchwork of Pharmacare programs across the country with the view to launching a national program.
The budget predicts an $18.1 billion deficit, but Morrissey said the debt-to-GDP ratio is declining, and the strength of the economy is allowing the federal Liberals to make investments in Canadians, including Canada’s veterans.