In recent weeks, FedNor minister Tony Clement once again ha exposed his lack of knowledge and understanding regarding FedNor funding.
I would suggest it is time for him to take a few minutes to review the facts.
Former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin recognized the need for stable, ongoing FedNor funding and delivered it in the 2005 budget as an annual increase for the next five years.
The 2005-06 FedNor business plan verifies this fact on page 7:
“Budget 2005 demonstrated a clear vote of confidence in the work that FedNor has completed in both Northern and rural Ontario as short-term funding envelopes were replaced with an ongoing annual budget for Northern Ontario of $51.9 million per year.”
On the same page, the 2005-06 FedNor business plan further outlines that an additional $6 million in one-time funding would be invested in the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
On April 13, 2006, the Conservative government tabled the Summative Evaluation of the Northern Ontario Economic Development Fund that further confirms the stable funding of $51.9 million for FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Fund (NODF) program.
This report is currently available on the FedNor website at www.fednor.ic.gc.ca (the numbers are there in black and white on page 2 of the introduction).
The facts clearly show that the previous Liberal government was the first to give five-year guaranteed funding to FedNor and the dollar figure was set at $51.9 million per year.
When the Conservative government came to office, the funding was cut by $6.4 million to the current annual budget of $45.5 million (the funding cut was confirmed by Minister Clement in a news release on Aug. 8, 2006 that also is available on the FedNor website).
That Minister Clement can play so fast and loose with the truth is truly disappointing. The paper trail clearly shows that funding for FedNor was cut in 2006—and that cut has not yet been reversed.
Now that Minister Clement has seen the evidence, I hope he will start working to reinstate FedNor’s annual budget to the full $51.9 million that we put in place in Budget 2005.