Friday, December 18, 2009

Autonomy is breaking out all over the place

Government Announces Plan for Increased Newfoundland Labrador Autonomy

A number of initiatives announced by the Federal Government today will increase the independence of Newfoundland Labrador and facilitate its growth. These initiatives build on the strengths of Newfoundland Labrador and appropriately recognize its role as a provincial institution.

The Honourable Peter Mackay, Minister responsible for Newfoundland Labrador, made the announcement today in St. John’s. He was joined by Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter and Newfoundland Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

To assist the growth and independence of Newfoundland Labrador, the Federal Government has formally requested that the House of Commons:

• Rename Newfoundland Labrador to Nova Scotia East to enhance its unique identity within the federal system;
• Submit a separate budget to the Federal Government through the House of Commons to allow independent budget processes and priority setting; and,
• Position the Premier of Newfoundland Labrador on the senior executive committee, reporting directly to the Premier of Nova Scotia.

“Newfoundland Labrador has already proven that it is capable of great things and this is an opportune time to build on its current success,” said Minister Mackay. “This government firmly believes that autonomy is key to the economic agenda of Newfoundland Labrador. To support its growth, we are also announcing today an investment of $6.5 million for Newfoundland Labrador.”

“Our government made a commitment to ensuring that Newfoundland Labrador had the capability and resources necessary to increase their autonomy and promote themselves as a world-class provincial institution,” said the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. “These initiatives fulfill this commitment in a tangible way and I look forward to seeing great things from Newfoundland Labrador as they move forward. Newfoundland Labrador has made great progress in the past four years and through our continued financial support, our government is proud of our commitment to Newfoundland Labrador.”

This funding will also support five new positions to attract increased funding for Nova Scotia East. As well, it will support additional positions in support services and general operations at Nova Scotia East, based on its strategic planning process. Furthermore, annual funding will eliminate Nova Scotia East’s existing operating deficit.

Finally, this funding will support the establishment of a Nova Scotia East Secretariat, located in St. John’s, to support Newfoundland Labrador as it implements key priority areas for growth.

“Our goal is unwavering – to grow Newfoundland Labrador in terms of programs, with the focus on its tremendous strengths, within the Nova Scotia community,” said Premier Dexter.

“The positive changes Minister Mackay announced today give us the resources to support marketing, recruitment, research, and services,” said Premier Williams. “These initiatives, which include greater local control of our fiscal planning, are critical initiatives we have identified to give us greater autonomy.”

“The new initiatives announced today are very positive news for the Newfoundland Labrador community and the whole east coast,” said Minister Mackay. “A renamed Nova Scotia East will play an integral role in the economy of Atlantic Canada and the new investments and initiatives will ensure that Newfoundland Labrador has the necessary resources and tools to address the issue of autonomy.”