FedNor cuts will be ‘devastating’: Mulcair – by Sebastien Perth (Sudbury Star – April 5, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

NDP leader accuses Tony Clement of ‘word games’ and calls Cliffs’ approach to Ring of Fire ‘really stupid’

The Conservatives are lying when they call cuts to FedNor “efficiencies,” federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said Thursday during a visit to Sudbury.

Mulcair talked about Conservative spending cuts, Liberal party polling numbers and the Ring of Fire development during a media scrum at NORCAT offices on Maley Drive.

Mulcair accused Tony Clement, the minister for FedNor, of playing word games, in a dispute over the FedNor budget. The NDP says the department’s budget will be slashed from $81 million in 2012-13 to $60.3 million in 2014-15. In a release, Clement said the cuts won’t affect FedNor’s ability to deliver programs– a claim Mulcair challenged.

“Unfortunately, the Conservatives’ cuts, the planned cuts of tens of millions of dollars from the budget of FedNor, will have a devastating effect in the whole region, particularly in centres of excellence,” he said. “(The cuts will be) 20% this year and 25% next year — those are the actual cuts to FedNor.”

“If Tony Clement says anything otherwise, he’s not telling the truth. This is not a matter of ‘he said, she said’ — these are facts, they are printed on a piece of paper.”

“Tony Clement should start telling the truth to people in Northern Ontario. If he’s got the guts to cut, let him have the guts to admit what he’s doing and stop playing word games.”

FedNor — the Federal Economic Initiative for Northern Ontario — pumps millions of dollars into Northern Ontario each year. Mulcair said the money from FedNor is critical for companies looking to start up, and those needing to modernize.

“FedNor has been one of those great solutions to provide a more balanced economy in an area that has a great rich-n ess in primary natural resources and their developments. That’s a great thing for the region and Canada. It’s also something that has the be completed in other parts of the economy.

“That’s where NORCAT (the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc.) comes in — not only training, but developing new businesses and very exceptional areas of technology. That’s the type of thing NORCAT is developing, which stands to be lost if the cuts the Conser vatives are planning actually go through.”

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/04/04/mulcair-rips-into-conservatives-over-fednor-cuts

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