The Harper Conservatives tabled a budget yesterday that will steal jobs and halt economic growth in Atlantic Canada, Geoff Regan said today.
“Harper is telling young people in our region to give up and go west to work,” said Regan, Liberal M.P. for Halifax West.
The 2012 Budget contains massive cuts of $1.1 billion to the Department of National Defence, $18 million cut from the Atlantic Opportunities Agency, $79.3 million from the Department of Fisheries and Ocean and $11 million from Marine Atlantic. Atlantic Canada could be looking at 2,300 jobs lost in the public sector.
“Not only are the Conservatives slashing public service positions, they’ve also gutted programs that help encourage economic growth in our region,” said Regan. “Cuts to the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program, for example will have a big impact on research and innovation, and really hurt our bio-sciences industry.”
The Atlantic Investment Tax credit for oil, gas and mining companies has been phased out, and the Canadian Tourism Commission and Parks Canada budgets have been significantly reduced, which will impact tourism development in Atlantic Canada.
Regan said with the lack of employment growth over the last six months and youth unemployment at an all-time high, the Conservative government should have be focused on job creation. According to Statistics Canada figures, Nova Scotia has 6,700 fewer net full-time jobs compared to August, 2008.
“This is another missed opportunity to support Atlantic Canadians who are struggling to find work or grow their business.”