NDP MP Peter Stoffer supports Maritime union

Teresa Wright
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NDP MP Peter Stoffer

Federal NDP Opposition MP Peter Stoffer says he believes the Maritime provinces should combine to form one jurisdiction — a move he says would save money and allow for more public services.

Stoffer was in Charlottetown Thursday for a meeting with Veterans Affairs deputy minister Walter Natynczyk at the VAC headquarters office, but the meeting was cancelled due to scheduling difficulties.

Instead, Stoffer met with veterans, postal workers and other interest groups.

In an interview with The Guardian, the Nova Scotia MP confessed he is a big believer in Maritime union.

“If you look at Amherst, Nova Scotia, and Sackville, New Brunswick, and the their tax systems are completely different. Why? They’re 20 miles apart. It doesn’t make any sense.”

He pointed to partnerships among the western provinces such as the TILMA agreement, aimed at streamlining regulations and increasing the free flow of goods and services.

“If you’re a nurse, a plumber or a teacher, you should be able to move throughout the provinces and our tax rates should be the same,” Stoffer said.

“I think if we did that, we could eliminate the high costs of some of our government services.”

The last time the notion of Maritime union was floated was in 2012.

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy gave interviews across the region in an attempt to create a public conversation on the topic.

It was met with widespread criticism, including from P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz.

“We’re very fortunate that we have three provinces. That gives us more clout when it comes to dealing with the feds, or dealing with other provinces,” Ghiz told the National Post in 2012.

RELATED: P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy calls for Maritime union

Stoffer acknowledged the notion of provincial amalgamation is a controversial one, but says that’s because politicians don’t like it.

“Eventually if you can show people you can still be Prince Edward Island… instead of paying all the salaries and pensions of all these people at the very top, I’m sure we can reduce these numbers.”

To ensure jurisdictions like Prince Edward Island do not lose their voices or influence in Ottawa through amalgamation, Stoffer suggests an overall reduction in seats in all of Parliament.

He also suggested provinces should reduce the number of seats in their provincial legislatures. Nova Scotia should go from 51 seats down to 27 and P.E.I. should also reduce its existing 27 seats, Stoffer says.

“If you’re a government telling the average person on the street, ‘You have to tighten your belt, you have to do more for less,’ it should start at the very top.”



Organizations: Maritime union, Veterans Affairs, National Post

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Charlottetown, New Brunswick Prince Edward Island Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    January 30, 2015 - 10:30

    Don, I agree. Doesn't Peter look like a grayer version of Mulaire, Malware, Mulcaire, or whatever his name is?

  • don
    January 24, 2015 - 08:51

    Peter. please keep your nose out of the maritime's we have done alright for the past 150 years plus and we do not need some want to be sticking his nose into our business.

    • Linda Dunne
      January 26, 2015 - 14:00

      Don speak for yourself, don't speak for me. I think it would be a great idea, we will still be Prince Edward Island, but not have to pay so much for all our services.

    • Linda Dunne
      January 26, 2015 - 14:01

      Don speak for yourself, don't speak for me. I think it would be a great idea, we will still be Prince Edward Island, but not have to pay so much for all our services.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    January 23, 2015 - 17:43

    A maritime union would not fix anything, providing only temporary gains. We should and need a leader that can see AND PLAY the long game. A maritime union would only work if we would separate from Canada and become our own country and print our own money. We would then have a real chance of long term economic independence. This short sited individual should resign as he seems to think that centralization is a good thing when in fact it is not.

  • Maritime Union is an outright attack against PEI's economy and culture
    January 23, 2015 - 13:53

    It isn't controversial because politicians don't support it, Maritime Union is controversial because it destroys two provinces (PEI & NB) while putting 50% of PEI's workforce immediately on the chopping block. Consider that if PEI is no longer a province the $550 million we receive each year from Ottawa no longer exists. Everyone who works for the PEI government (except for QEH staff and Access PEI) would lose their job. Islanders would lose vital services. And the abortion-on-demand crowd would no longer be able to whine about PEI being the only "province" without in-territory abortions. We would become 2% of the voting population in the new Maritime Union Province, meaning Islanders would never be listened to by the new government (I know, I know "haha just like the current government"). Being such a small percentage of the population would mean that no Islanders would ever be able to force government to listen to them. Right now all it takes is 50 or 60 people in one district to scare an MLA into taking action on community issues. In Maritime Union-land, 50 people wouldn't be enough to make an MLA return your phone call.

    • reality
      January 25, 2015 - 09:50

      we don't need to be paying all these mla's to waste taxes and act god like--three times more than we need and some expect Canada to pay the price !! Worse than Quebec !!