P.E.I. 'taken for granted,' Atlantic Canada critic says in year-end interview
Former New Brunswick MP Rob Moore says having all Liberal MPs in region hasn't brought expected benefits
The Liberal Party may hold all 32 of Atlantic Canada's seats in the House of Commons — including the four on P.E.I. — but the Conservative Party says that doesn't mean the region is getting the attention it needs.
In a year-end interview with Mainstreet P.E.I., former New Brunswick MP Rob Moore, the Progressive Conservative critic for Atlantic Canada, said he believes Prince Edward Island and the rest of the region is being "taken for granted."
"I think people initially thought, 'Hey, we're going to get a lot of attention because we've elected all these Liberal MPs.' And in fact what's happened is quite the opposite. I think we're being taken for granted," he said.
What makes you think that?
We were told this was going to be be sunny ways and everybody would get along and with the very recent health negotiations or the unilateral imposition of a carbon tax, we're seeing that just because we have representation in every riding in Atlantic Canada is held by a Liberal, it doesn't mean our region is necessarily at the forefront.
What are the big issues facing P.E.I.?
Jobs and being able to support our families and make ends meet — that remains the number one issue. And some of the initiatives that have come out from the government we need to speak out about, like the carbon tax. That's going to have a disproportionate impact here in Atlantic Canada where people often do struggle to pay their heating bills and put food on the table. It's important that we speak out against increasing the tax burden on Atlantic Canadian families.
Why is it important to have a Conservative voice in Atlantic Canada?
When an issue like the Supreme Court of Canada appointment came up and the federal government was for the first time ever looking outside the region to fill the vacancy from our region, it was the Conservative Party that spoke up for that. If they hadn't, who would have? Because the Liberal MPs were silent on that issue and on many others.
Should the minister responsible for ACOA be from Atlantic Canada?
One of the Prince Edward Island members of Parliament said it's a good thing having the ACOA minister be from Mississauga and I think that is putting a brave face on things. But the reality is they are always as disappointed as anyone that there's not an Atlantic Canadian who understands the region that would be at the head of that agency. And ACOA is an important agency for Prince Edward Island and for all of Atlantic Canada.
You speak about the lack of economic development in the region. Can you give an example?
The West-East pipeline [Energy East]. We've seen pipelines approved in other regions, the West-East pipeline is stalled and that means economic development in our region is stalled.
Are you working to rebuild the Conservative Party in Atlantic Canada?
Our riding associations are gearing up now for the next battle because we know we're a national party and Atlantic Canadians are realizing for sure that having all of these Liberal MPs hasn't resulted in anything positive yet for the region.
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With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.