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Atlantic Mayors Support Call for Aid Package for Fishing Communities
(HALIFAX, Saturday, April 26/2003)-- Atlantic Mayors plan to press the Federal government for an immediate aid package for residents of the hard-pressed fishing communities throughout the region.
Mayor Frank Fraser, of Canso, Nova Scotia, won the support of delegates attending the Atlantic Mayors' Congress in Halifax today for a resolution to seek the financial assistance for job creation and retraining, particularly in light of the closure of the Atlantic cod fishery this week.
Letters will be written to Human Resources Ministers Jane Stewart, Honourable Jerry Byrne, Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Robert Thibault, urging them for an immediate aid package.
Mayor Fraser said there has been no provision for job creation in any Federal infrastructure program since the mid -1990's, and Atlantic fishing communities, such as Canso, can no longer any job opportunities or incentive for residents to remain there.
Mayor Peter Kelly, of the Halifax Regional Municipality and Chair of the Atlantic Mayors Congress, said one of the considerations for aid may be requesting the Federal government to designate a portion of the national infrastructure program for job creation and retraining in the affected fishing communities.
"With widespread unemployment and little hope for new job opportunities, many people are leaving these communities. Eventually, these municipalities will collapse. The Mayors believe that at least a portion of the new $3 billion Federal infrastructure funded should be available for job creation in these hard hit communities," Mayor Kelly concluded.
Mayor Peter Kelly
Chair, Atlantic Mayors Congress
(902) 490-4010 or (902) 222-9999
Corporate Communications Officer
(902) 490-4044 (fax)