../Morning Post
Posted November 9, 2009
Back and Forth

Harper Conservatives put political marketing ahead of Southern Ontario communities once again

OTTAWA - The Minister of State for FedDev Ontario needs to focus on the Southern Ontario communities hardest hit by the economic recession, and spend less time playing politics by trickling out taxpayer money in alignment with a Conservative self serving and dragged out marketing plan, Liberal Critic for Southern Ontario Economic Development Frank Valeriote said Friday.

“Here we are, nine months since the announcement of the agency, and they are still only trickling out the funding to get maximum credit,” said Mr. Valeriote. “This government is more preoccupied with tax-payer funded self-promotion than they are with helping the people hardest hit by this recession.”

Mr. Valeriote was responding to Minister Goodyear’s announcement in Hamilton this morning to finally allocate $30 million more of the funding announced for Southern Ontario in January – half of the $60 million in long-awaited outstanding funding. FedDev Ontario was announced in the January 2009 Budget to provide economic support and community development to communities, businesses and non-profit organizations.

“The list of applicants for the Southern Ontario Development Program is growing and they only received a $15 million top up. The fund is running dry,” added Mr. Valeriote. “The money for CME-SMART investment announced today could have easily been made in February. Why the wait?”

Mr. Valeriote noted that the announcement is just another band-aid solution by a Government that has no capacity for strategic economic development, despite the Canadian economy having shed 43,000 jobs in September.

“Stephen Harper has no problem coordinating a $100-million partisan propaganda campaign, or making municipalities pay a share of $45 million wasted on ‘Economic Action Plan’ signs – but helping Southern Ontario when they need most just isn’t a priority for him.”

“We have been demanding this money for months and Canadians are losing jobs. There is no excuse for making businesses wait so long for the help they desperately need,” concluded Mr. Valeriote.

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