House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was concerns.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Avalon (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 40.50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Hockeyville Contest April 4th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians love the sport of hockey. I am proud to stand and offer a show of support to the town of Port-aux-Basque on its selection as one of the top five entries in the Hockeyville contest.

Mr. Andrew Parsons has led the charge for the gateway town to be named Hockeyville, the Canadian community that best embodies the spirit of hockey and hometown pride.

The town has been awarded $20,000 for arena upgrades for making it to the top five and now hopes to be selected number one. The winner of the competition will receive $100,000 for its local arena and will host an NHL exhibition game next September.

The town's contest entry has focused on the economic difficulty faced by small rural towns, yet hockey bonds the communities together and remains strong in spite of all the other challenges.

The town has had its challenges with its rink burning down one September, but it was able to have a new multi-million dollar facility constructed and people skating in November in the following year.

The community is thrilled with making it to the top five and hockey fever is high. We applaud the community's spirit, team effort and success to date and are rooting for them to take home the big prize.

Sealing Industry April 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the seal hunt is an important part of the economy and cultural heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, the Maritimes and, indeed, all of Canada. Our government has shown leadership in defending and promoting the hunt on the international stage.

Here at home there have been reports that the vessel the Farley Mowat, which is owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has endangered the lives of sealers on the ice.

Will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans please advise the House and the people involved in this important industry what action our government will be taking to address these concerns?

Aboriginal Affairs April 1st, 2008

Mr. Speaker, aboriginal people throughout Canada have been fighting for years for a better quality of life, progress on land claims and other key important issues, not only for them but for future generations.

I know this government has only been in office a little over two years but it has made some great strides in achieving these goals, for instance, cutting in half the number of high risk water systems which we inherited from 13 years of Liberal neglect.

Therefore, I would like to ask the Minister of Indian Affairs if he could highlight what other progress is being made in respect to aboriginal people and the issues that matter most to them.

Forestry Industry Support March 31st, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has tabled a motion calling on the government to introduce eight separate measures to assist businesses, communities and workers who have been hard hit by the forestry crisis.

I would like to focus on the part of Motion No. 414 that asks the government to implement an economic diversification program aimed specifically at communities that depend heavily on the forestry industry.

That is exactly what this government has done.

On January 10, the Prime Minister announced a major new national initiative, the $1 billion community development trust, under which our government will support provincial and territorial efforts to build a stronger, more prosperous future for communities and workers hurt by current economic volatility.

In last fall's Speech from the Throne, we highlighted our commitment to help vulnerable communities and workers in Canada's key traditional industries, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing and tourism, which face significant challenges in the current global economy.

With the announcement of the community development trust, this government has made good on its commitment.

The reasons for establishing the trust are clear and compelling. Canada's economic fundamentals are strong. Overall, the national economy is well positioned for long term growth and prosperity. However, the global economy is facing increasing economic uncertainty and there will be challenging times in the years ahead.

This uncertainty means that some of our communities have become and will become vulnerable because of their dependence upon a single employer, or a particular sector might find itself under pressure because of exchange rate fluctuations or declining demand, notably in the United States.

As one of Canada's largest employers, with close to 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country, the forest industry provides employment in over 300 small and rural communities from coast to coast to coast.

We all know that these are difficult times for the forestry industry, workers and communities right across Canada. The industry has faced significant pressure from a higher Canadian dollar, declining housing starts south of the border and increased competition from low cost producers in Asia and South America.

Regions hit by layoffs, communities plagued by chronic high unemployment and one industry towns facing downturns are precisely the difficult circumstances that the trust has been designed to address.

As the Prime Minister noted, the trust will support job training and skills development to create new opportunities for workers who wish to move to a sector that is currently facing labour shortages.

In terms of economic diversification, the trust could be used to fund community transition plans that encourage economic development and job creation. It might include infrastructure initiatives that stimulate economic diversification.

Other economic development and diversification initiatives that the community development trust could cover include: public utility projects, industrial park development, science and technology development, access to broadband technology, and community and transportation services.

Under the terms of the three year, $1 billion trust, the federal government will provide a base amount of $10 million to each province and $3 million to each territory, with the balance of the funding allocated on a per capita basis.

The funding will be administered by the provinces and territories, as they are uniquely placed to identify the projects that best respond to community needs. The trust provides provinces and territories with the flexibility to invest in those projects that best help vulnerable communities and individuals.

At the same time, the provinces and territories must ensure that projects under consideration respect Canada's obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization and the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement.

As we all know, New Brunswick was the first province to sign onto the trust. Premier Graham noted that the recent downturn in the forest sector had hit the province hard. He welcomed the $30 million that the community development trust will provide to New Brunswick as the province looks for ways to diversify the economy and move away from the concept of one industry towns.

The government of New Brunswick has identified several measures to help move the province toward its diversification goal. It plans on supporting economic adjustment in hard-pressed communities such as Dalhousie, Bathurst and Miramichi. It will fund research and development related to the innovative uses of engineered wood, biofuels and energy efficiency. In addition, the province will be examining opportunities for supplying natural gas to northern communities in order to lower energy costs. Finally, New Brunswick has indicated it will be looking at accelerating opportunities in the mining industry.

On January 17, Saskatchewan became the second province to partner in the trust. Premier Wall noted that although the province's economy is strong, there are sectors and regions that can benefit from strategic investment from the federal government. Funding priorities under the trust identified by Saskatchewan include: biofuels and sustainable energy development; infrastructure; and support for communities impacted by layoffs in the forestry sector.

On March 11, British Columbia became the third province to sign on to the trust. Its share, $129 million, will support forestry related provincial initiatives to provide skills training and upgrading for laid-off workers. The funding will also be used to provide transition assistance to older workers and create new job opportunities in forestry dependent communities.

Just last week, on March 27, Ontario became the latest province to sign on. The community development trust will provide Ontario with $358 million to support programs that improve productivity and competitiveness, technology development, and training for workers and communities facing challenges in industries such as forestry, agriculture and manufacturing.

Today, just a few hours ago, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that they have signed an agreement to further this community development trust for Newfoundland and Labrador.

We welcome the participation of all provinces and territories in the community development trust; for it is by working together that the federal, provincial and territorial governments can best help turn the economic challenges we face today into economic opportunities tomorrow. We look forward to other provinces signing agreements too.

The trust builds on a number of measures that this government has undertaken for the forestry sector since it was elected just over two years ago.

Less than nine months into our mandate we resolved the costly and prolonged softwood lumber dispute. The agreement that we negotiated ended years of costly litigation and repaid over $5 billion Canadian in duty deposits, a significant infusion of capital for the industry that benefits communities and workers.

In addition, as part of budget 2006, we introduced a $400 million forestry assistance package to assist worker adjustment, to address the pine beetle infestation in western Canada, and to encourage the long term competitiveness of the forestry industry.

We delivered on these commitments too. The targeted initiative for older workers was originally a $70 million program. In budget 2008 we provided an additional $90 million for this program, for a total of $160 million and extended it to 2012. Cost shared with provinces and territories, this program is designed to address the needs of older workers who have lost their jobs in communities where the local economy faces ongoing unemployment or where industries such as forestry, and in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador, the fishery and agriculture are affected by downsizing and closures.

At roughly the same time we announced funding of $1.275 million to address long term competitiveness in the forestry industry. The initiatives, promoting innovation and investment, expanding market opportunities, developing a national forest pest strategy and forming a human resource forest sector council, help create the environment necessary for our forestry industry to compete internationally.

Through budget 2008 we have provided $10 million over two years so that Natural Resources Canada can promote Canada's forestry sector in international markets as a model of environmental innovation and sustainability.

In conclusion, this government has supported and will continue to support the Canadian forestry industry. The actions we have taken and are continuing to take make this abundantly clear. It is clear to Canadians from coast to coast. It is clear to people working in the forestry industry from coast to coast. I believe it should be clear to the members opposite.

Afghanistan March 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, achieving a military success in Afghanistan certainly would not be done by packing up and going home.

This is the philosophy that is being put forward by the NDP in the House. I have sat here and listened to it for several months. Members of the NDP say: “Let us go over and negotiate, let us go over and talk to these people to see if we can find a resolution to the concerns we have”.

The Taliban are very difficult people to talk to, people who have abused children, abused women, and used them as shields to put forward their concerns. They have brought about injustices on the Afghan people over the past number of decades. How are we going to negotiate with them?

I challenge the NDP in the House to select four or five of its members to go to Afghanistan and carry out those negotiations, and carry out those consultations in the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and then come back and report to us, if they are lucky to get back out alive and tell us how the negotiations went so that maybe we can solve this crisis.

I doubt very much that they would go, and I certainly doubt that they would return. The Taliban are not interested in peace. They are not interested in giving people a chance to have a better life. They are interested in destroying the country and destroying the people.

We as Canadians will not sit idly by and let that happen. That is why we are in Afghanistan and that is why we are going to stay there until the job is done.

Afghanistan March 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, once again, I want to congratulate the Minister of National Defence. He is doing a superb job on behalf of Canada.

Certainly, the economy of Afghanistan is changing. As I touched on earlier, per capita income doubled between 2004 and 2007 and Canada is the top micro finance program donor. More than 418,000 people are accessing small loans and savings services in 23 provinces, including Kandahar.

More important than that, and another statistic I am sure people would like to know, more than two-thirds of those 418,000 people are women. There is no doubt that Canadian assistance is supporting skills development throughout Afghanistan and we are indeed making a difference in the lives of these people.

At the end of the day, the important thing is that the people of Afghanistan are given the opportunities that we have here in Canada, that they be allowed to grow, expand and have the freedom to be able to choose to do what they want to do. That is the underlying principle that we are trying to establish in Afghanistan and, more importantly, I believe and I am sure many Canadians believe, we are succeeding in doing just that.

Afghanistan March 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to further contribute to the debate on this important issue and the motion before the House. I am very proud to speak to this motion, a truly Canadian motion.

This motion would extend our mission to 2011, increase the capacity of the ISAF, and better equip our soldiers. It is not a Liberal or a Conservative motion, but a motion to move forward and succeed in a tough and challenging mission.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence for doing a wonderful job in ensuring that Canadians are playing an important role in that part of the world.

As a Newfoundlander and Labradorian, I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate General Rick Hillier. We are very proud of the general in Newfoundland and Labrador. We are proud of the leadership he has shown not only in this mission, but indeed with the Canadian armed forces.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians comprise approximately 1.5% of the population of this great country. We are proud that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, young men and women of our province, contribute to almost 10% of the Canadian armed forces.

I feel it necessary to go back to the basics in my remarks today and remind the House of the fundamental reasons that we are involved in Afghanistan and the benefits of such involvement.

As the Manley report states, “events in Afghanistan, and Canada's participation in the outcomes, will directly affect Canada's security”. This is one of the most important reasons that we are there and we must support this mission so we can finish the job. Let everybody be aware that our soldiers, our men and women, are making a difference. I would like to remind people of the difference we are making.

In 2001, 700,000 children were in school in Afghanistan and they were all boys. The Taliban regime did not allow education for little girls. Today, just a mere six years afterward, more than six million children are enrolled in school in Afghanistan this year, one-third of them little girls. Just that statistic alone shows us that our Canadian mission and our soldiers are making a difference in Afghanistan.

We take a lot of things for granted in this country. As the father of a five year old daughter who just started kindergarten last September, I shudder to think that I could live in a country where somebody would tell me as a father that my daughter was not allowed to go to school to learn about not only her own country, but the world.

I believe that to some extent this House, and perhaps some Canadians, have forgotten the core reason that we are involved in Afghanistan. We forget that the events of September 11, 2001 were the catalyst of our involvement there. Ask any Canadian if they can remember where they were on September 11, 2001. It is one of those days in our history when everybody knows full well where they were at the specific moment they found out about the attacks on America.

We lose sight of the fact that it was from Afghanistan that al-Qaeda leaders planned and directed the terrorist attacks of that day. Canada's role as a member of the United Nations and NATO led to our involvement in Afghanistan. The UN Security Council acknowledged the right of individual and collective self-defence, and we participated in the efforts to bring justice and stability to a formerly unstable and unjust country.

We know that this conflict is justified and beneficial. Why would we then abandon the cause? Why would we jeopardize international, Canadian and Afghan security by withdrawing from the mission before the job was done?

We know that the job is not done. We know that the insurgents that Canadians, alongside Afghans, are so bravely fighting are the same people that received safe haven from the Taliban government of Afghanistan prior to the days of September 11. We know that almost certainly they will receive the same safe haven if the Taliban were allowed to regain power. We know that if we give up now, the Taliban would seek to return and bring back their brutal regime.

Great progress has been made on the ground with the Afghan army and police and there is still more training to be done. We have seen a steady rise in the numbers enrolled in the Afghan national army. Since transferring control to these forces is the ultimate goal, we must make sure they are properly prepared. With a greater focus on training the Afghan army, we will be working ourselves out of a job and that is our goal, to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.

Our colleagues from the NDP have proposed to remove our troops completely and abandon the people of Afghanistan. However, this is a reality denying proposition. We must wonder about the sincerity and commitment of the NDP to its own principles.

Internationally, almost every social democratic party in the western world supports our mission in Afghanistan, such as the labour parties in the U.K. and Australia, or the social democrats in Germany. Yet, what can only be described as a cheap shot for votes, the NDP has forsaken its own principles for an easy isolationism that appeals to the worst of our natures, the selfish and easy way out.

One wonders whatever happened to solidarity. There is no easy way out of Afghanistan. We are there to protect. We are there to make life better. We must address the reasons why we should remain in Afghanistan until 2011. Again, these are linked to security and to prevention of terrorism because a safe Afghanistan, free from the Taliban, makes the region, makes Canada, and indeed, makes the world a safer place to be.

The efforts of Canada and our allies have some great gains in this mission including furthering democratic elections and institutions. We can all remember seeing millions of Afghans voting just a few short years ago. Just last week a group of Afghan women parliamentarians were here in the House of Commons. What a great day it was. What a testament to the progress that has been made. What a testament to the lives that have paid the ultimate price. What a testament to what Canada is doing in that far away country.

Those women would not be standing in this House without the security and aid of Canada and our allies, and the brave Afghans who have rejected barbarism and terrorism. To keep these gains moving forward we need to increase the number of troops and give them better equipment. The decade of decay in our Canadian military is over.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence have made great efforts with our allies to find 1,000 more troops to partner with Canada in Kandahar. With the passage of this motion, Canada will have a clear mandate at the upcoming NATO conference in Bucharest.

Medium lift helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles recommended by Mr. Manley will greatly aid our troops in doing their job effectively. They will also hopefully lead to preventing more deaths from IEDs. Medium lift helicopters will allow our troops to avoid dangerous stretches of highway. UAVs will allow our troops to search out the Taliban and deal with them before they cause more trouble.

The insurgents that our troops our fighting in Kandahar province are the same insurgents that will again fight to instill this brutal regime on the people of Afghanistan. They are the same insurgents that would forbid girls from going to school and would forbid basic health care needs to women.

We have a chance in Afghanistan to make a real difference in the lives of people who want the same things we want here in Canada. The Afghan people want a better world for their children than the one they have.

Let us look at the progress in the few short years we have been there: the vaccination of more than seven million children against polio, including approximately 350,000 in Kandahar province; the delivery of food aid to more than 400,000 people in Kandahar; and 83% of Afghans now have access to basic medical care.

We have made great strides in the economy of Afghanistan. Per capita income has doubled between 2004 and 2007.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I have served with that member on the fisheries committee for more than a couple of years.

I would like to see more money in any part of the budget going into the small craft harbours and other things. However, we have many issues that need to be addressed so we are limited to what we can put into a particular part of the budget. I guess that is the situation here.

I know the Minister of Fisheries has been working hard on getting the budget increased. Last year we made an additional $20 million to the small craft harbour budget permanent so it will be there forever.

Many harbours in my riding of Avalon need to be addressed through further funding. I look forward to working with the Minister of Fisheries and the people on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to address those concerns.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, what I approve of is that we have addressed health care in our three budgets. We have addressed waiting times throughout the country. We have put money into health care to address the concerns raised by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

What concerns me is that the government presents a budget and the opposition members raise their concerns and talk about the faults in the budget but their biggest concern is whether they will sit on their hands, walk out or vote against the budget. Those are the three issues they must face and those are the questions that Canadians are asking.

If we are so wrong on this side of the House with budget 2008, if we are so out of the loop, as we hear from the opposite side, why do those members sit on their hands, walk out of the House or not show up for a vote? Why do they not vote against us? It is one or the other. They cannot condemn the government and condemn the initiatives that we have put forward in the budget this year, as in past years, and then continue to allow us to stay here. It is one way or the other: if they disagree with us they have the opportunity to take care of us through a vote, or they can agree with us. The options are very clear.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to have the opportunity to say a few words on budget 2008. I will be splitting my time with the member for Leeds—Grenville.

Last week another balanced budget was presented by the Minister of Finance, the third in three years. Three out of three is not a bad batting average.

The budget was, again, full of tax savings for all Canadians: an initiative to pay down the debt with a $10.2 billion payment; assistance for our youth; incentive for our seniors; and a continuation of putting more hard-earned cash back into the pockets of hard-working, ordinary Canadians.

People from coast to coast have applauded our budget. I will quote the minister of finance in Newfoundland and Labrador, the hon. Tom Marshall, who said, “I am pleased to see the initiatives with respect to police officers. The fact that the gas tax is made permanent, that was good”.

That and many other comments across the country have given us hope that we are on the right track on this side of the House.

There are some positive highlights for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As I just touched on by the minister of finance, the gas tax for municipalities was made permanent. Cities and towns can now make long term plans. Many communities in my own riding of Avalon can take advantage of this situation now.

There will be 2,500 new police officers for Canada. Again, in Newfoundland and Labrador there are $6 million earmarked for this initiative that will put more RCMP officers on the streets of our province.

Very important for Newfoundland and Labrador there will be an additional ferry for Marine Atlantic for the important connection between the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. This is the Trans-Canada that connects our two provinces. It is an area that we need to work on and we have been doing so with the help of the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the member for St. John's East.

This will also benefit people in my riding in the area of Argentia, another gateway in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the summer run between Argentia and Nova Scotia, because of problems at times on the Argentia-North Sydney run and problems between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, we end up sometimes having to take the ferry from the Argentia run. Hopefully with this new additional ferry, that will not happen.

There is a new Coast Guard ship to be stationed in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the budget there is a commitment of $720 million to build a new one for Canada's north.

There is major funding in the aquaculture industry. Our government is stepping up to the plate to review it. Some people involved in this industry have been very positive since last week's budget. In Newfoundland and Labrador, $22 million will be spent over the next two years.

We were in my province with the Minister of the ACOA , the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Veterans Affairs on the weekend to make the tremendous announcement with Cooke Aquaculture on the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador as it continues to develop the aquaculture industry in my province.

The tax-free savings account is a very positive feature in the budget. I was home on the weekend travelling throughout my riding and many constituents mentioned the tax-free savings account, which is financial assistance for everyday living. It is tax-free, whether people withdraw it in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years or 20 years. Whatever gains they make, interest they receive in capitals gains, it is tax-free. It is in their pockets, another opportunity to build financial security for hard-working Canadians.

Reducing the tax burden of many individuals and families throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada has been a hallmark of this government.

We see new incentives for seniors. On the issue of seniors over the past couple of years, the new secretary who has been put in place is taking the concerns and working on them.

There are $350 million for the new consolidated Canada student grant program. An extra 100,000 students in Canada will be able to avail themselves of this opportunity.

Another important aspect of the budget is $122 million over the next two years to ensure the federal correctional system achieves better public safety results. Within Newfoundland and Labrador there is much discussion about a new federal-provincial prison. No federal prisoners can be housed in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are sent to the mainland. This creates some problems for family and neighbours who want to visit inmates and it is a cost prohibitive situation in my province.

Back in 1988, the creation of a prison was announced for the community of Harbour Grace in Newfoundland and Labrador. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are still looking for that to be fulfilled.

Seeing this $122 million in the budget being earmarked over the next two years gives us hope. I am sure the minister of justice for Newfoundland and Labrador and the people who are involved in the justice system are looking forward to the continuing discussions on that and to see if we can come to some conclusion on addressing that situation.

There is $10 million for small craft harbours for the divestiture of delinquent wharfs and pieces of infrastructure relating to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans throughout the province. By addressing the divestiture concerns, we are freeing up money for the construction and certainly repairs to be made to existing structures that are being used by the people involved in the fishing industry in the province. That is a good news announcement for the people of the province.

As the chair for the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, the committee has been advocating for more money in the small craft harbours budget. We realize that this is a step in the right direction. We look forward to advocating again and, down the road, to having more money put into the small craft harbours budget. Addressing the divestiture concerns is something that I am sure many people within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador found as welcome news.

Also, over the past couple of years we have seen some major funds put into municipal infrastructure and the building Canada fund is addressing many of those concerns. Over the next couple of years, we look forward to being able to avail ourselves of that throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and, indeed, throughout the riding of Avalon.

Throughout the riding of Avalon, which I have the privilege to represent in the House of Commons, there are 227 different communities ranging in size from thousands of people down to 100 people. Many of their concerns encompass municipal infrastructure, so we look forward to being able to avail ourselves of that fund. We have been doing so. As a matter of fact, when we were in the Avalon riding this week, we partnered with the municipality of Harbour Grace, the provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as a contribution from the federal government, we announced a $1 million project for the town of Harbour Grace to address some its water and sewer concerns.

Small craft harbours is definitely a major concern within the riding of Avalon. Last year we were very successful in obtaining over $7 million to address the concerns. Just to give members an idea, in my riding of Avalon I have 68 harbour authorities, so there is a necessity and certainly a need.

I say to people that the wharfs in my riding are like Highway 401 in Ontario. It is the place where commerce happens in the communities. It is a very important piece of infrastructure that provides not only the opportunity for fishers to have safe landing facilities but, more important, for people to be able to earn a living.

We look forward to working with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and continuing to locate and certainly allocate money for this very important piece of infrastructure in the riding of Avalon.

I continually meet with harbour authorities throughout the riding and tell them that this is a priority for me as their member but also for the Government of Canada to address these concerns.

Another situation that we find many times throughout the riding of Avalon is that we depend on the ACOA funding, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. We have had tremendous support from the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency over the past couple of years. Many projects within my riding have been assisted through funding from ACOA and other agencies, and we certainly look forward to continuing with that. We had the Minister of ACOA in Newfoundland and Labrador this past weekend for some announcements. He also travelled around and looked at some projects that are in the works. We certainly look forward to availing ourselves of the money in the budget to address some of these concerns.

As always, through Services Canada we receive excellent cooperation from the minister and his staff in addressing some of the concerns in the Avalon riding.

When I look at budget 2008, I look at a very positive budget for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in many ways. I look at a budget that addresses many of the concerns that we have raised in the past year with the minister.

The minister met with the Atlantic caucus and we put forward some of the highlights and some of the concerns of Atlantic Canada that we wanted addressed. The budget certainly looked at many of those.

We are off to another good start. This is our third budget and it certainly is a very positive budget for Newfoundland and Labrador and for Canada as a whole.