The Federal Liberals have introduced legislation (Bill C-24) that will eliminate the formal position of Minister of Federal Economic Development in Northern Ontario. This move to mute Northern Ontario voices in Ottawa goes further than even the preceding Conservative government, who at least provided Northern Ontario with a dedicated Minister on the file.
This move stands in sharp contrast to Liberal campaign promises and underscores the Liberals’ fading commitment to Northern Ontario, a message echoed by NDP FedNor critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay).
“In the last election Liberals said Northern Ontario needed to vote for someone at the cabinet table. Now we find out that we’re actually losing our only full-time cabinet Minister. What happened to all those Liberal MPs who promised to be champions for Northern Ontario in Ottawa?”
On top of removing the FedNor Minister and maintaining Harper’s cuts to funding staffing for FedNor, it was also recently confirmed that the Liberals will be cancelling broadband funding for two years in Northern Ontario. Angus says, the message is clear, that the Liberal government is failing to deliver for Northern Ontario’s economy.
“We are tired of being the poor cousin to the country as the only region without an independent standalone agency and now we are losing our own minister. I don’t understand why the Liberals don’t get that growing our economy is a win not only for Northern Ontario but the entire country. We need to reverse these harmful decisions and instead make Fednor a standalone agency.”
The Liberals just tabled Bill C-24 deleting the only section of legislation referencing a Minister for federal economic development initiative for Northern Ontario. The Justice Canada laws database shows no other mention of this position title.