Monday, March 31, 2014

Cons ignore patronage problem, gut ACOA accountability

March 28, 2014

OTTAWA – Instead of cracking down on patronage, the Conservatives are instead taking steps to avoid accountability for the decisions they make regarding the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). This was reviled in the Budget Implementation Act tabled today.

“Since taking power, the Conservatives have cut nearly one third of ACOA’s budget and have used the agency for rewarding patronage,” said NDP ACOA critic Ryan Cleary (St. John’s South—Mount Pearl). “By scrapping the requirement for the Minster to report to parliament on the impact of the agency’s actions on regional disparities, the Conservatives are once again showing their disdain for accountability.”

In addition to using the Budget Implementation Act to end the mandatory five year reports, the Conservatives are also using the bill to move forward with its plan to eliminate the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC) by folding it into ACOA.

“They are clearly in a rush to scrap ECBC ahead of the Auditor General’s report,” said Cleary. “Eliminating the reporting mechanism is an attempt to hide any negative impacts this controversial decision may have on communities in Cape Breton in the future.”

When news broke of the ECBC’s decision to fund a marina to the tune of $4 million, Cleary wrote the Auditor General to request a review of the ECBC’s spending practices.

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