Fisheries cuts 'efficiencies,' says minister
Cuts announced to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are the result of identifying efficiencies in operation, says DFO Minister Gail Shea.
The cuts were announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in Tuesday's federal budget. By 2014, almost $57 million will be trimmed from Fisheries and Oceans, but Shea said that's not a concern.
"We were asked to identify efficiencies, which is what every good department should be doing on a regular basis," said Shea.
"We've identified a number of initiatives … details will be forthcoming shortly on those."
The Liberals say the cuts at DFO had already started. Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte MP Gerry Byrne in Newfoundland said budget estimate documents already showed a cut of $145 million over last year.
"They're going to start off-loading services, downloading services to fishermen and downloading costs to fishermen," said Byrne.
"They're getting out of a lot of initiatives that they've been involved in and that's only going to make our fishing industry more uneconomic."
Opposition leaders have said they will vote against the budget, which could mean an election in the spring. Sydney Victoria MP Mark Eyking in Cape Breton said he's happy to campaign against this budget.
"When I look at the three departments that Cape Breton relies on: Marine Atlantic is going to be cut by an average of $2 million a year, ACOA is going to be cut over $10 million a year and Fisheries and Oceans, which is crucial, especially our small craft harbours money, that's going to be cut," said Eyking.
In advance of the budget it appeared only the NDP were considering supporting the budget, but Leader Jack Layton said afterwards changes would be necessary for his party to support it. Flaherty has said there will be no negotiations.