City wants to discuss job losses with Fantino, Shea
© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Charottetown Mayor Clifford Lee looks over some paperwork during the regular meeeting of city council Monday night.
City council in Charlottetown is asking for a public meeting with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and Island MP Gail Shea over job losses in the P.E.I. capital.
Council passed a resolution unanimously at its regular public monthly meeting Monday night.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, who moved the resolution, said council wants answers on why the federal government is cutting more than 200 jobs at the headquarters in Charlottetown and closing district offices, including the one located in Charlottetown, to be replaced with what it is calling an access centre.
Tweel said council also wants to talk about other federal service possibilities, job and economic development opportunities there might be for the P.E.I. capital.
“I’d like it to be an open meeting so anyone from our community could attend along with the media because I believe in having an open and transparent process, not just having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting behind closed doors,’’ Tweel said. “There is a lot of frustration among some members of council that we’ve never been given detailed reports as to what discussions or negotiations have taken place but that’s a moot point now because nothing has happened.’’
Mayor Clifford Lee said it’s important, however, the public knows members of council
have already met with the two federal ministers.
“I’ve personally met with Minister Fantino shortly after his appointment as the minister of Veterans Affairs,’’ Lee said Wednesday, referring to a meeting that took place just a few months ago.
Lee noted that he and Coun. Cecil Villard, chairman of the administrative services committee, also met with Shea to express concern over the cuts and office closure.
“The minister certainly is very much aware of (the city’s position) on job cuts in the city. He’s also aware of the position of the city in regards to the closing of the regional offices and the ability to service our veterans.’’
Still, nothing has changed but Lee said the effort will continue.
“I have been, prior to (council meeting) Monday night, in the process of trying to set up another meeting with the federal minister for DVA and we’ve been in discussion with other municipalities across Canada who are impacted the same by losing their regional offices. That exercise is underway.’’
The Charlottetown mayor describes the moves by the federal government embarrassing and disgraceful.
Lee said losing more than 200 jobs in a city as small as Charlottetown is a major blow to the economy and said he plans on writing federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair, asking them to formally commit to reversing the decisions should either become the next prime minister.