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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 1, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Minister Mitchelmore Applauds Signing of CETA, But Fisheries Fund to be Negotiated Later?

 

Steve Kent, Trade Critic for the Official Opposition, is asking, "Where is the CETA Fisheries Investment Fund that our administration negotiated with the federal government and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised to honour, including the five pillars to move our fishing industry forward?"

 

"Our administration was able to get a commitment a long time ago from Mr. Trudeau for the CETA Fisheries Investment Fund to be honoured. Prime Minister Trudeau has just signed CETA on behalf of Canada, so why won't Minister Mitchelmore simply answer this: Why was the agreed-to fund for our fishing industry, along with the details for executing this fund, not available and being announced by the Minister? CETA is now signed; there is nothing more to negotiate. Do we have the $280 million for the fund or not?

 

"As an Opposition Critic with the NDP Caucus, Mr. Mitchelmore spoke about the importance of 'protecting' our fishing industry and called for the government to be 'up front, open and transparent on this issue' with respect to CETA's contents. So now, as the provincial minister responsible, Mr. Mitchelmore needs to listen to his own words, stop hiding, show us the full agreement and answer the questions,” said Kent.

 

"The Fisheries Investment Fund and recognition of other areas within the chapters of the agreement were part of the overall negotiations, whereby our province agreed to relinquish Minimum Processing Requirements (MPR's) for ‎the European Union only, under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. How can the Minister celebrate the agreement and not announce the details of the Fisheries Investment Fund? What has changed from the original negotiations? Did the Ball government give up any of the provisions that our administration negotiated in the best interest of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? The EU wanted all subnational issues resolved before the CETA signing. That was our province's leverage. Did the Liberals pull things out of CETA to negotiate with Ottawa separately later, once the CETA agreement ‎was signed and our leverage was lost? Our administration negotiated a full package of measures as part of CETA, covering procurement, regional development and infrastructure, along with the Fisheries Investment Fund. Are these in jeopardy because the Liberals bungled the negotiations?

 

"The CETA Fisheries Investment Fund was intended to enable our province's fishing industry to renew and modernize its operations and to ready itself in order to access new markets so we would be fully ready to compete successfully as tariffs are phased out. The negotiated deal was that, once CETA was signed, the investment funds would flow. What has changed? Did the Ball Liberals cave in on this?

 

"Subnational governments had an enormous amount of leverage before CETA was signed. ‎The Belgian region of Wallonia was able to use its leverage effectively to protect its interests. Was Newfoundland and Labrador able to use its leverage to secure everything that we were promised, or did the Ball Liberals give away some of what we were successful in negotiating? Was Minister Mitchelmore effectively involved in the talks to protect our interests, or did he and our province's best interests get sidelined?

 

"Ottawa promised to invest at least $280 million for a total federal-provincial program of $400 million. Have Ottawa and the province made provisions for the money to flow? If not, how much valuable time will be lost? There are unprecedented opportunities for growth in one of our province's most important industries under the agreement our administration negotiated, but the funding needs to flow as early as possible so our industry can prepare. Why aren't the Liberals ready?" said Kent.

 

 

 

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Media Contact:

 

Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition,

 

(709) 729 6105,heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

 

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