Budget includes money for P.E.I. ferry services, says MacAulay

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 23, 2016

Lawrence MacAulay speaks to the House of Commons in this Canadian Press file photo.

©THE CANADIAN PRESS

The ferry service between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia is getting some cash from the federal government.

Agriculture Minister and Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay told The Guardian this morning that the budget proposes to provide $51.9 million in 2016 and 2017.

That money will be used on a cash basis to support the continued operation of three ferry services in Atlantic Canada.

The funding is going to the service between Wood Islands, P.E.I., and Caribou, N.S.; Saint John, N.B., and Digby, N.S.; and between Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Que., and Souris, P.E.I.

MacAulay said it isn’t the long-term funding model that he wants yet but that he will do everything in his power to help the P.E.I. ferry services as long as he is in office.

MacAulay also confirmed that the Veterans Affairs Canada service office in Charlottetown will re-open but didn’t give a timeframe of when it will happen.

The Cardigan MP did say that the re-opening of the office will include the hiring of new case managers.

MacAulay also assures municipalities that money will flow soon for infrastructure projects and that money will also flow for better broadband Internet service for rural areas of P.E.I.

In terms of employment insurance, MacAulay said the two-zone formula still exists in P.E.I. (the province is split in two with Charlottetown one zone and the rest of the province making up the other) but that he is confident that will change eventually.

More later and in Thursday’s print and e-editions of The Guardian