Minister expects federal-provincial relations to improve

Daniel MacEachern
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Penashue says plans for 5 Wing Goose Bay will be rolled out over the next several months

Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Peter Penashue says he believes the cool relationship between the province and Ottawa will get better. — Transcontinental Media file photo

Despite mounting criticism of the federal government from provincial politicians, Conservative MP Peter Penashue said he expects the relationship between the two levels of government to improve.

Earlier this week, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said the Canadian military made “a very bad judgment call” to not send a requested Cormorant helicopter to aid in the search for missing Labrador teenager Burton Winters in January. Burton was later found frozen to death. Late last week, Dunderdale criticized federal Defence Minister Peter MacKay over the federal government’s lack of plans to station a battalion at the Canadian Forces base in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, despite an election promise in 2006 from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reiterated as late as last year. The Liberal and New Democrat parties have also been ramping up criticism of the federal government in the wake of recent federal budget cuts.

Penashue, regional minister

for Newfoundland and Labrador, speaking after a funding announcement from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, said the tension between the governments arises from old issues, and that the two sides are in a “building relationships mode.”

“We’ve been making an effort to build up relationships, and I think we’re doing very well,” he said. “My office is always, constantly talking with the premier’s office, so we have good communications, and we’re going to continue to build those relationships. And I think over time you’ll see that the relationship will improve.”

Penashue said his government intends to build up 5 Wing Goose Bay.

“We’ve assured people that are working in 5 Wing Goose Bay, all 350 people and all the spinoffs from that, that they have an excellent future,” he said. “We’re going to build up 5 Wing Goose Bay, and we are going to operationalize 5 Wing, and there’s a committee reviewing the operational mandate and this operational mandate will have to do with Arctic sovereignty. So that’s the most important thing is to keep those jobs and build up 5 Wing Goose Bay.”

Plans for 5 Wing will be rolled out in “the next several months,” Penashue said.

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Related story, page D1

Organizations: Canadian Forces, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Happy Valley Arctic

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Recent comments

  • Our MHAs and MPs when speaking to the National Media need to spell out what ails our relationship with Ottawa and Canada
    May 24, 2012 - 11:59

    Last evening I watched CTV News from 9:30 pm to 10 pm and saw a MHA from Newfoundland and Labrador being interviewed on the relations between Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador. He was a very imposing man, carried the interview very well but not once commented on the meat of the problem of why he thinks relations are bad between our province and Ottawa. I would have expected him to have pointed out in his interview so as to apprise Canadians that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949 brought to Canada a wealth of Great Natural Resources and the Best Strategic Location in Canada with millions of square miles of Atlantic Ocean coverage and a territory 4 times the size of the other 3 Atlantic Provinces. I wish he had referred to the raw resources that were exported out of here and utilized by the other provinces over the past 63 years that brought Billions of dollars annually, directly and indirectly to the economies of the beneficiary provinces and the Ottawa Treasury itself. We have no Military or Naval bases situated here despite being the Eastern Flank of Canada and being so important an area during the Second World War. If our MHAs and MPs want to talk to the National Media on our relations with Ottawa, the time is long over due for them to spell out to Canadians why they think the relations are so poor and that is because, despite being endowed by Nature with a wealth of GREAT natural resources; and a GREAT Strategic location, which proved itself even before we became a province, during the Second World War when we were inundated by the Canadians, Americans and British Militaries to protect North America, we were unable to create an economy for ourselves, because of the way our natural resources were distributed for the benefit of other entities outside of this province. I am not completely blaming Ottawa here but it had a lot of say over where a Smelter or an Oil Refinery could be built and who would be utilizing our natural resources, who would have control over the Ocean waters, the Air Space that brought big dollars and economies to Canada. Also the type of Government that we are subjected to adversely affected our province, where our politicians have to toe the party line or there will be no Political Patronage doled out to them once they are un-electable. The Political Patronage Tool is very corrupt it keeps the politicians from doing what they were elected to do, and it makes the system of Government we are ruled under very corrupt, as well. Reform is badly needed!

  • Jeremiah
    May 24, 2012 - 06:53

    This guy is being too cute by a mile! He is not saying that the feds will cooperate. He is makeing a general statement that everyone will have to cooperate, big difference. If the premier ca;lles an inquiry the feds will drag their heels and ensure that it fails. This yokel is embarresing.