Canada: Conservatives Must Fund Sydney Harbour Dredging Project

As the Liberal Express continues to travel through Cape Breton today, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is calling on the federal Conservatives to commit to funding for the dredging of Sydney Harbour to create high-quality jobs and economic development in the region.

“The Conservatives are dragging their feet for no good reason when Cape Bretoners’ jobs are at stake,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “Dredging the harbour so larger deep water ships can enter would open up trade and shipbuilding opportunities, with the potential to create 4,000 jobs, generate $100 million in additional tax revenues and enable the region to position itself as a major shipping gateway for Eastern Canada.”

Since 2008, Liberals have been urging the government to commit $19 million to the dredging project. In its most recent response, the Conservatives claim their economic action plan did not budget for the $19 million request and have refused to state whether they will fund the project in the future. It is feared that continued delays will jeopardize the viability of the project.

“The Conservative government’s refusal to fund this project is beyond comprehension,” said Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking. “How can this government walk away from a project that would create much-needed jobs and bolster the local economy?”

Thus far, the Nova Scotia government has agreed to provide $15.2 million for the dredging, while the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is providing $2 million and Nova Scotia Power $1 million.

“The Conservatives would rather spend $1.3 billion on poor G8/G20 planning, $10 billion on new prisons, and $16 billion on sole-sourced fighter jets than commit $19 million to this worthwhile project,” said Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner. “Stephen Harper is sending a clear message to Cape Bretoners that they are at the bottom of his priority list.”

“This is a missed opportunity,” concluded Mr. Ignatieff. “We will continue to put pressure on the government to commit funding to the harbour project and continue to stand up for the people of Cape Breton.”


Source: liberal, August 31, 2010;