Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cabinet confidentiality, injurious to EU relations—Harper Cons refuse to answer questions surrounding NL fisheries fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2015
CONSERVATIVES’ STORY ON FISHERIES INVESTMENT FUND DOESN’T ADD UP

ST. JOHN’S – The federal government’s response to a written inquiry from NDP MP Ryan Cleary (St. John’s South—Mount Pearl) on the Fisheries Investment Fund leaves more questions than answers.


“The federal government maintains that loss must be demonstrated for the province to access the Fisheries Investment Fund,” said Cleary. “So I asked for an explanation for where the $280 million figure comes from. If this is indeed for compensation after the fact, how did they arrive at this amount?”

Instead of dealing with the specifics of Cleary’s question, the government provided a response filled with the same rhetoric the Conservatives have been using as talking points on this issue.

“The inability or unwillingness to provide an answer for why they expected the $280 million to match the anticipated loss undercuts the federal government’s argument,” said Cleary.

In his order paper question, Cleary also asked when the EU requested that Minimum Processing Requirements be lifted as part of CETA negotiations, as well as what concessions the EU made in exchange for the elimination of MPRs. International Trade Minister Ed Fast refused to answer, citing cabinet confidentiality. He also noted the release of negotiating information could be "injurious to bilateral relations between Canada and the EU.

A copy of Mr. Cleary’s written question, along with the response, is available upon request.

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Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL
With regard to International Trade: (a) how did the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development arrive at a figure of $280 million as compensation to Newfoundland and Labrador for anticipated losses incurred with the elimination of Minimum Processing Requirements as part of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal; (b) when did the EU ask for Minimum Processing Requirements to be lifted as part of CETA negotiations; and (c) for what concessions from the EU was the elimination of Minimum Processing Requirements exchanged?

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the historic Canada-EU trade agreement will deliver tremendous benefits for businesses, workers and their families in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada. The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador raised significant concerns that the removal of minimum processing requirements, MPRs, would have a negative impact on workers in the fisheries sector. Through discussions, the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to cost-share an MPR fund that would be used to compensate those who can demonstrate losses as a result of the removal of MPRs. The Government of Canada looks forward to receiving the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's specific proposals for this fund, and to moving forward with this historic trade agreement that will present untold economic opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador.
With regard to (b), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. Information has been withheld on the grounds that the disclosure of negotiating information could be injurious to bilateral relations between Canada and the EU.
With regard to (c), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and information has been withheld on the grounds that the information constitutes cabinet confidences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Canada has taken way to much of NL's fish resource and used it benefit other parts of Canada. 200 billion might be fair compensation.