Penashue makes no apologies for withholding funds

Derek Montague
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Peter Penashue

 

Peter Penashue says he has no regrets for withholding federal funding from a couple of Newfoundland projects in order

to secure provincial dollars for paving the Trans-Labrador Highway. Penashue cited poor relations between Newfoundland and Labrador, in terms of resource sharing, as justification for his tactic.

According to Penashue, in an interview with The Labradorian, he withheld funding for two projects on the island, but would not say what they were or which departments were involved.

“Well that’s not important. … What’s important is that I represented the interests of Labrador,” Penashue said when asked what the two projects were.

Penashue did say, however, “there was a significant amount of dollars involved” in those two projects.

Penashue claims that if he didn’t take drastic measures to secure the funding the road between Goose Bay and Red Bay wouldn’t have been paved until after 2015.

“I did what I did because I’m elected from Labrador and I represent Labrador. I want to make sure my constituents share in the federal resources that are transferred to the province,” said Penashue.

“The original plan (by the province) was that the road wouldn’t be paved until after 2015 I think was their original plan. … I’ve been elected by Labrador to represent Labrador interests and I’ve done that and I make no apologies for that. … Nobody likes to take drastic actions, but in this case it was important.”

Penashue believes that he was justified in holding out on the Newfoundland projects, because Labrador is not allotted a good enough share of its own resources, from the provincial government.

“Absolutely, you talk to anybody on the street they will tell you that Labrador … generates a significant amount of revenue. … You’re damn right we’re not getting our fair share,” said Penashue.

 “There’s a significant amount of resources that come out of Labrador. We are major producers of the economy and we should be sharing in the wealth of Labrador. One of those contributions has to be fixing up infrastructure such as paving the road between here and Red Bay.”

On top of being Labrador’s former MP, Penashue was also minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for this region. Many have criticized Penashue for seemingly holding one part of the region hostage in order to get money for Labrador. But Penashue believes that it’s his main duty to represent Labradorians.

“Politics is simple when you come down to it,” says Penashue. “People send their politicians to Ottawa to represent them and to represent their interests. Labradorians sent me to Ottawa to represent their interests and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

When asked if he was worried that his tactic might damage any unification of Newfoundland and Labrador as a province, Penashue responded, with a smile: “I hope you’re not telling me that relations between Newfoundland and Labrador are excellent.”

Penashue also blasted Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones for her criticism of his tactics. And accused her of looking out for Newfoundland interests instead of Labrador’s.

“I was quite curious today. I heard that Yvonne was on VOCM and didn’t support or appreciate my tactic, and that’s quite telling of her to not be supporting my success,” says Penashue. “… Obviously she’s more interested in considering Newfoundland interests.”

Despite the criticisms Penashue is facing, he is confident that many Labradorians agree with what he did in order to secure provincial dollars for the TLH.

“I just came from door to door (campaigning) and people tell me that they appreciate the stance that I’ve took, and it’s about time someone looked after the interests of Labrador,” said Penashue.

“Labradorians (are) absolutely convinced that they don’t share in the resource wealth of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“I never felt Labrador was getting its fair share.”

 

The Labradorian

Organizations: Trans-Labrador Highway, Intergovernmental Affairs

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Red Bay, Goose Bay Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Brian
    April 15, 2013 - 09:20

    Yes, Labrador first - so it should be, one tends to shovel their own driveway before a neighbours. Dropping by the neighbours shed, stealing their snowblower, filling it with some gas 'stolen-by-a-friend' from their car, and then blowing your driveway onto their said car is not something to be proud of.

  • Dawn
    April 14, 2013 - 13:01

    Nothing that comes out of any rep. from the ALLIANCE PARTY surprises me because it is all approved by Harper before any of them say a word,but the stupid things they say gives me a good laugh sometimes. Just look at how he controls the media & I do not see them do to much about it.The ALLIANCE PARTY A.K.A. Conservatives are & will always be a DICTATORSHIP PARTY. As soon as they get rid of HARPER & ALL OTHER WHO COME FROM THE OLD (& STILL TODAY) ALLIANCE PARTY IT ALWAYS WILL BE A DICTATOSHIP PARTY. Peter Mackay is & always was a wannabe ALLIANCE PARTY rep. & now he is. No one in the ALLIANCE PARTY a.k.a. Conservatives is allowed to do anything unless it is ok'd by HARPER himself, a.k.a. a DICTATOR. So it does not surprise me with the STUPID things rep.'s from the ALLIANCE PARTY say because it is all approved by Harper before anyone even opens their mouth. All you have to do is think back to all the stupid things he did and said when he ran under the ALLIANCE PARTY. He only merged the ALLIANCE PARTY & CONSERVATIVE PARTY together as one because he knew he had no hope in hell of getting voted in under the ALLIANCE PARTY LOGO, which is a dictatorship way, so he changes the name but not how he thinks or feels. As they say a leopard can not change his spots or way of thinking so why would you think that HARPER changed his way of thinking or how he feels just because he changed the party name. The way he acts now is EXACTLY how he was (& is) when he ran under the ALLIANCE party. I will never call it the Conservative Party & I will always call it the ALLIANCE PARTY. Maybe I will after Harper gets kicked out as leader & they vote someone in from the old CONSERVATIVE PARTY that was there before Harper merged the two. I really did not think that Canadians would fall for the name change thing & vote him in but some did. I think 99.9% of politicians are untrustworthy & liars, when you vote you have to figure out of all the assh*$%s that are running which is the better assh*$% to run the country, unfortunately that is how it is. You might go in as a honest person but you certainly do not come out as one.

    • Taiwansoninlaw
      April 15, 2013 - 04:20

      Re: article "On top of being Labrador’s former MP, Penashue was also minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for this region. " Mr. Penashue is the Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for all of Canada--not just the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador or Atlantic Canada for that matter.

    • Taiwansoninlaw
      April 15, 2013 - 04:21

      Re: article "On top of being Labrador’s former MP, Penashue was also minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for this region. " Mr. Penashue is the Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for all of Canada--not just the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador or Atlantic Canada for that matter.

    • A Proud Newfoundlander & Labradorian
      April 17, 2013 - 12:10

      How much time and valuable resources have been spent on the destruction of relationships in Canada(Nfld. vrs. Labrador; Quebec vrs the rest of Canada; East vrs West; Central vrs the rest of Canada etc.? Attacking one another only places roadblocks in the pathway to meaningful progress towards the betterment of all stakeholders involved. We should choose to maximize on the wisdom obtained from the lessons learned from our colourful history and become the masters of relationship building and our destiny. We need strong leaders to move us forward. We need to ensure that folks who are interested in Canadian politics are given an opportunity to become oriented to systems, ethics, decorum etc. to prepare for the many challenges that will arise. we need to be sure that our future leaders are given the necessary tools and resources to be the best they can be in order to achieve the change we wish to see in this great country. The stronger we are as a country, the better positioned we will be to help with global issues that is threatening all of humanity and our planet. Respectfully.

  • Fred Penner
    April 14, 2013 - 12:07

    It seems like every time Peter's name comes up it is somehow connected with mis-use of money.

  • Goose Bay voter
    April 14, 2013 - 10:13

    Peter, when you say that you just came from door-to-door campaigning and people support your position, you must have been down in Shesheshuit. That community will support you regardless of your actions. Here in Goose, the people I talk to understand the role of a member representing his constituents, and we understand the role of a Minister who takes an OATH to execute the duties of his office. You allowed yourself to act contrary to your oath of office in order to garner favor in your riding. This is a serious character flaw that demonstrates a total absence of even the most basic understanding of ethical reasoning. Not surprising given last election's spending/donation scandal. Unfortunately, I suspect that you will still get a few votes from Innu supporters, but on a riding wide scale, I predict that Labrador will tell you that we deserve better. Yvonne will take the seat.

  • Allworld
    April 14, 2013 - 06:43

    As Mr. T of "The A Team" would say: "Pity the fools that vote for Penshue!"

  • wavy
    April 13, 2013 - 22:13

    Peter Penashue is digging his own political grave, one shovel full at a time. However, whether he did it fairly or otherwise, don't forget Penashue DID get elected the first time around meaning someone voted for him; a lot of people voted for him. I think there's a strong and timely lesson to be learned from this. People need to really think long and hard about who they're voting for rather than just blindly marking an X next to someone's name on a ballot. Do your research, inform and educate yourself on the issues, the candidate's histories, challenge your own opinions and reasons for voting for someone. It matters. The results matter because you get what you vote for. Peter Penashue is a tarnished example of that.

  • Brian
    April 13, 2013 - 18:09

    This person is a FOOL. This person has nothing to offer as a representative of our province.

  • Too funny
    April 13, 2013 - 15:43

    That's rich. The man has already proven that he is less than honest about his election spending so why should we be surprised if he's less than honest about fulfilling his duty as provincial representative. At least he is consistent in being dishonourable. To be fair, he's doing exactly what all other provincial reps have done before him.

  • joan
    April 13, 2013 - 15:05

    Thank god ,after may13 ,we won't see this cheater again .What an idiot

  • Lane
    April 13, 2013 - 12:25

    I call BS. For one thing, Penashue was not the federal Minister for Infrastructure Canada and never had the authority to delay funding for any project. For another thing, the provincial government has been implementing a multi-year plan for improving the Trans Labrador Highway since long before Penashue was ever elected. Every single year they announce funding for another phase of the Trans Labrador Highway improvements. So Penashue had nothing to do with forcing the province or the feds to invest in the Trans Labrador Highway.

  • Aunt Lizzie
    April 13, 2013 - 12:16

    If Penashue DID delay a project in Newfoundland until he secured money for Labrador, he should be thrown out of office for playing selfish games with taxpayers' money and failing as a regional minister for NL. If he did NOT delay a project in Newfoundland until he secured funding for Labrador, he should be thrown out of office for being a liar. Either way, he should be toast.

  • Jeremiah
    April 13, 2013 - 11:01

    Wonder if there is a cure for stupid?

    • Foghorn Leghorn
      April 13, 2013 - 13:08

      Yes there is, it is called the Senate.

  • darren
    April 13, 2013 - 10:32

    Later Peter.....its all over. Your won't starve though old buddy. We'll buy a house for ya and pay for your children's university education for ya too.....so don't worry, you will be alright.

    • Watch for It
      April 13, 2013 - 15:05

      Watch for Peter to get a Senate appointment when he loses the by-election. SAD.

  • Harold
    April 13, 2013 - 09:39

    I cannot vote in this byelection because im not from Labrador but i am a taxpayer and i am from Newfoundland, Canada and i DEMAND to know the full story here. Cathy Dunderdale, tell us the truth. i sure hope the people of Larbrador don't send this idiot back to Ottawa. harper will find a seat in the senate for him next to Fabian. it seems the level of intelligence for politicians is being lowered all the time and we have no one to blame but ourselves, we accept this crap from our so called leaders. just how far down are we willing to sink before we say "enough"?

    • Jay
      April 14, 2013 - 08:33

      What does Kathy Dunderdale have to do with this? Do you know the difference between Federal and Provincial politics? And Penashue knows that people on the island are not voting, so he's going to say whatever he wants. Every politician since the beginning of democracy has done the same thing. The reason we get this terrible representation is because uninformed voters keep doing stupid things.

  • Agnes agrees with Peter Penashue.
    April 13, 2013 - 09:03

    I agree with Peter Penashue that Labrador has not shared in its resources and, I will add, neither has Newfoundland. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador's natural resources were developed and outsourced in the raw state so that Smelters, Refineries, and Manufacturing centers could flourish in the rest of Canada. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador received a pittance in remuneration for what those resources were worth to the rest of the country's economies and that pittance had to divided over a large diverse area of Newfoundland and Labrador Geography . It was the politicians of the past from this province who committed those dastardly acts but, of course, they were fulfilling the desires of the Ottawa Politicians and Bureaucrats to have resources sent to the Center of the Country to places like Toronto, Sudbury and Manitoba so the Center could prosper with jobs, infrastructure and afford to augment its population base through immigration. For toeing the line I am sure those politicians got well rewarded with contracts and other goodies Those politicians should have stood up to Ottawa to have had all the processing of our natural resources done in our province, or not have had the resources developed in the first place. Peter Penashue had nothing to do with any of that and neither did Prime Minister Harper. It is so SAD how we were treated in Canada despite our vast wealth of natural resources. Our province and its people are suffering greatly today because of it. For instance look at the dissention it has caused between our own people in Newfoundland and Labrador. I heard Bob Ray on VOCM this week telling Bill Rowe that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador punches WELL ABOVE its weight for Canada, with its well endowed resource base and he even complimented our Location in Canada. He said our periphery is a good location. One would have to be stupid to think that a place that owned the complete Eastern Periphery, that bordered on Canada, combined with the Atlantic Waters was not a great location. How stupid were we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to have been led down the garden path in thinking we were a burden on Canada? Ottawa had coveted our location since Confederation in 1867, PM Louis Laurent,at the time of our entry into Confederation by hook or by crook, told us so in his welcoming speech of May 1949. By the way when Bob Rae gave our province the accolades, it was the first time I ever heard a Federal Politician acknowledge our great contribution. I guess they now have to acknowledge it since they have caused so much havoc by not creating the economy in our province that should have been created given our great natural resource base and location. If Ottawa had looked after the province of Newfoundland and Labrador's interest first, our province could have had the best infrastructure and the best economy in the whole of Canada, all the while the other provinces could have been benefiting from our success, as well. After all Ottawa took over Newfoundland and Labrador just after the Second World War prior to 21 Great Economies being created over a 60 year period throughout the Western World.

  • Agnes agrees with Peter Penashue.
    April 13, 2013 - 09:03

    I agree with Peter Penashue that Labrador has not shared in its resources and, I will add, neither has Newfoundland. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador's natural resources were developed and outsourced in the raw state so that Smelters, Refineries, and Manufacturing centers could flourish in the rest of Canada. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador received a pittance in remuneration for what those resources were worth to the rest of the country's economies and that pittance had to divided over a large diverse area of Newfoundland and Labrador Geography . It was the politicians of the past from this province who committed those dastardly acts but, of course, they were fulfilling the desires of the Ottawa Politicians and Bureaucrats to have resources sent to the Center of the Country to places like Toronto, Sudbury and Manitoba so the Center could prosper with jobs, infrastructure and afford to augment its population base through immigration. For toeing the line I am sure those politicians got well rewarded with contracts and other goodies Those politicians should have stood up to Ottawa to have had all the processing of our natural resources done in our province, or not have had the resources developed in the first place. Peter Penashue had nothing to do with any of that and neither did Prime Minister Harper. It is so SAD how we were treated in Canada despite our vast wealth of natural resources. Our province and its people are suffering greatly today because of it. For instance look at the dissention it has caused between our own people in Newfoundland and Labrador. I heard Bob Ray on VOCM this week telling Bill Rowe that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador punches WELL ABOVE its weight for Canada, with its well endowed resource base and he even complimented our Location in Canada. He said our periphery is a good location. One would have to be stupid to think that a place that owned the complete Eastern Periphery, that bordered on Canada, combined with the Atlantic Waters was not a great location. How stupid were we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to have been led down the garden path in thinking we were a burden on Canada? Ottawa had coveted our location since Confederation in 1867, PM Louis Laurent,at the time of our entry into Confederation by hook or by crook, told us so in his welcoming speech of May 1949. By the way when Bob Rae gave our province the accolades, it was the first time I ever heard a Federal Politician acknowledge our great contribution. I guess they now have to acknowledge it since they have caused so much havoc by not creating the economy in our province that should have been created given our great natural resource base and location. If Ottawa had looked after the province of Newfoundland and Labrador's interest first, our province could have had the best infrastructure and the best economy in the whole of Canada, all the while the other provinces could have been benefiting from our success, as well. After all Ottawa took over Newfoundland and Labrador just after the Second World War prior to 21 Great Economies being created over a 60 year period throughout the Western World.

  • Joe
    April 13, 2013 - 08:58

    Peter, you seem to have your priorities mixed up. When you became a minister you represent the interest of all Canadians and not just your district. Either that or don't accept the post.

  • Randy
    April 13, 2013 - 08:51

    I think he's lieing- Come clean for once ,Peter

  • Wondering
    April 13, 2013 - 08:24

    Nice to see Peter is now talking instead of running away from the media. He says politics is simple. Seems rather complex given the trouble he got himself into. He says Labrador never gets its share . I agree with that..... and the method he uses, perhaps its necessary but underhanded, and wrong in principle. but that's the nature of politicians. Two wrongs don't make a right. He doesn't deserve to be re-elected.

  • Jack
    April 13, 2013 - 08:06

    While I'm glad that Penashue has secured funding to pave the TLH from Happy Valley - Goose Bay to Red Bay, that funding is only enough to pave 200 kilometres of the 560 kilometre stretch of dirt road between these two areas. That leaves 350 kilometres to be unpaved. The other criticism about TLH paving is that no commitment was made to pave this highway from Red Bay to Labrador/Quebec Border near L'anse au Clair as this section is littered with potholes and ruts. In fact, last summer, I drove through the Labrador Straits area as part of my summer vacation, and I was really appalled at the terrible road conditions, especially the L'anse au Loop to Pinware corridor. Even Quebec Highway 138 from Blanc Sablon to Vieux Fort is in much better condition than the TLH as the Quebec Government works diligently to maintain their highways. Once this highway is extended to Kegashka as part of the Plan Nord program, Newfoundland and Labrador's Northern Peninsula and Labrador Straits areas better brace themselves for heavier truck traffic. While I have to give credit to Penashue for trying to improve Labrador's infrastructure, he shouldn't have withheld funding for projects on the island as he's supposed to represent Newfoundlanders as well. I'm still not his biggest fan as I'm loyal NDP fan to the end.

  • Will Cole
    April 13, 2013 - 08:03

    That's as self-servingly despicable as Peter MacKay blocking projects in Cape Breton until he secured funding for Central Nova. Jut another vile example of the Harperites' polarizing politics of division. This Penashue is not fit to hold public office.

  • KD
    April 13, 2013 - 07:53

    I may not be a supporter of mr penashue this time around but for the people of the island to be crying foul then they had an chance to elect someone from the governing pcs but choose not to, depending on the ndp and the liberals they deserve what they get

  • Don
    April 13, 2013 - 07:50

    This guy should never have been elected. He has no clue as to his duties to NEWFOUNDLAND and Labrador. Thank God he will go down to defeat in the by-election.