Mr. Speaker, the 1994 budget announced that base Chatham was to be closed. This was a loss to the Miramichi community of 1,000 jobs, and more than $50 million in annual government spending. It came at a time when the Miramichi was facing an unemployment rate of 25% and the community was seriously affected by other federal cutbacks.
I am glad to report today that the Miramichi has refused to bow down to this loss. Community leaders, the province of New Brunswick and our former premier, Frank McKenna, have worked hard to overcome the difficulties that have besieged us.
Today, Skypark Miramichi, the former base Chatham, is the home of more than a dozen struggling new industries. This past summer, the married quarters have been converted into a retirement living complex. People are coming from all across Canada to enjoy the recreational aspects of the Miramichi and the many amenities that our community has to offer.
The people of Miramichi will strive to over the misfortunes of the past few years and will press on to achieve an even greater economy for our area.