Opposition on P.E.I. wants more than colourful memories of India trip

Steve Sharratt
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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Premier Wade MacLauchlan meet Monday with Nirmala Sitharaman, India's minister of commerce and industry.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan better have a nice, fat list of new opportunities says Jamie Fox

Premier Wade MacLauchlan better have a nice, fat list of new opportunities upon returning from India or Opposition Leader Jamie Fox is going to dissect the current trade junket.

Fox used a recent standing committee hearing to question government trade and food officials on why the premier was on the trade mission and whether his attendance was going to bring home anything more than colourful memories.

“Why is it necessary for the premier to make this trip?” asked Fox.

MacLauchlan is leading a trade delegation with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to uncover business opportunities and will visit New Delhi and Mumbai, India, until Feb. 6.

“Someone has to be there pounding the pavement and making some inroads," responded Scott Ferris, director of Global Trade Services for the Department of Innovation. “When it’s the premier attending as well, he can kick in at a higher level, and we fully expect a list of things to tap into when he returns. Every jurisdiction does this.”

But Fox asked if it wasn’t more advantageous to send a representative from the tourism association, the fishing association or the potato board.

“These people are the people who sell the product…wouldn’t that be better?”

Ferris said trade officials look for opportunities for all sectors and must be a “jack of all trades” when it comes to targeting new ventures. He suggested the premier would be able to work the trade angles and the political angles.

Liberal MLA and committee member Kathleen Casey offered another explanation.

“Why is the premier going to India? It’s a cultural thing, and by his appearance, it warrants a stronger level of respect," she said.

Fox says he’ll be scrutinizing the results of the trip, which included delegates such as Aspin Kemp Associates, Coles Associates, Portsmouth Atlantic, Economic Development Minister Heath MacDonald and officials from UPEI.

ssharratt@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com@Guardiansteve

Organizations: Global Trade Services, Department of Innovation, Aspin Kemp Associates Coles Associates

Geographic location: India, Ontario, New Delhi Mumbai

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  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 03, 2016 - 16:10

    Here's my beef - the government is not mandated with creating business in the province. Government is only supposed to make the Island friendly towards new business. It is an individual's or a corporation's initiative that is to make or break a business. The premier is garnering business for his Liberal Party buddies.

  • MFH
    February 03, 2016 - 15:44

    Are you kidding me ?? This was just another tax-payer funded opportunity to see the world for free.

  • Islander
    February 03, 2016 - 12:21

    Mr FOX, if it was not for you questioning all of this not a word would be said. This Government is going to do as they please at taxpayers expenses. Talk about balancing the budget. Just watch and see the HST will go to 15 for starters, all the loans to friends will be wrote off, all the backroom slush fund scandal, egaming to mention some will be all rolled over and the ones who may have done shady deals will walk free. The end of the GHIZ Government proved that. This new Premier is a piece of work. Keep exposing them Jamie, thats your job, they wont like it. So be it. Kathleen Casey has finally spoke. What an opinion!!!!!Her position will be safe, would she care to speak to the taxpayers in public about the scandals and outragous spending. Maybe she could share her opinion on people having hard times.

  • Islander
    February 03, 2016 - 12:18

    Mr FOX, if it was not for you questioning all of this not a word would be said. This Government is going to do as they please at taxpayers expenses. Talk about balancing the budget. Just watch and see the HST will go to 15 for starters, all the loans to friends will be wrote off, all the backroom slush fund scandal, egaming to mention some will be all rolled over and the ones who may have done shady deals will walk free. The end of the GHIZ Government proved that. This new Premier is a piece of work. Keep exposing them Jamie, thats your job, they wont like it. So be it. Kathleen Casey has finally spoke. What an opinion!!!!!Her position will be safe, would she care to speak to the taxpayers in public about the scandals and outragous spending. Maybe she could share her opinion on people having hard times.

  • AL
    February 03, 2016 - 10:46

    Wade is getting to be quite a jet setter. first Paris and now India, Where next ? Are the reps from UPEI and the companys that are going with the delegation picking up their own tab ,or are we the taxpayer footing the bill again. And if we are paying, how many in total went along?. At what cost? if they are paying their own way then they deserve to get credit for it. GUARDIAN dig it out.

  • don
    February 03, 2016 - 09:16

    i for one wants to know who went with on our tax money? i bet his guy went free. but we will never know as like ghiz that info will be locked up as secret national security.

  • Cromwell
    February 03, 2016 - 05:33

    'Why is the premier going to India? It’s a cultural thing, and by his appearance, it warrants a stronger level of respect," she said'. Miss Casey, I would suggest that Indians are not as easily deluded as you would suggest - they will see right through the facade put forth by MacLauchlan, in the same way they did when Ghiz visited. Still, having the Premier away for a period will do no harm to PEI - we've been leaderless for the best part of a year.