John Rafferty MP – The cuts keep on coming from the federal government

John Rafferty MPTHUNDER BAY – This week I would like to offer an update on some more unpopular and unannounced federal cuts, and some great local events that I hope to attend across our riding our summer.

The cuts keep on coming from the federal government, and it would appear that the reason we are not hearing announcements about them is because they are poorly thought out, unpopular, and strike at the heart of many essential services that we Canadians depend on. This past week for instance we learned of cuts to the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and specifically to the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program and the Police Officers Recruitment Fund.

The Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) was established in October 1980 to; “enhance the national capacity to respond to all types of emergencies and to enhance the resiliency of critical infrastructure.” The JEPP contributes $6.5 million annually to support emergency services across Canada, including the country’s five Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) teams devoted to helping with disaster recovery efforts. Most recently, the Toronto based HUSAR unit was deployed to Elliot Lake to help with the recovery efforts at the site of that community’s tragic mall collapse. Unfortunately, as of 2013 though the JEPP will no longer exist and all funding for urban disaster relief will officially be the responsibility of cash strapped provinces and municipalities. With more disasters than ever occurring across the country – from wildfires to flooding to major infrastructure failures – one would think that the federal government would have a larger role to play in recovery efforts, not a smaller one.

This past week we also learned of the elimination of the Police Officers Recruitment Fund which was a major federal program designed to help municipalities and provinces recruit police officers. In a backgrounder on the program, Public Safety Canada and Emergency Preparedness Canada offers the following rationale; “The purpose of the Fund is to support the efforts of provinces and territories in recruiting additional front-line police officers nationwide who can target local crimes and make communities safer.” Taking this information into account then, the cancellation of this important fund must therefore mean that the Harper Conservatives have made a conscious decision to eliminate their “support the efforts of front-line police officers nationwide in their work to target local crimes and make our communities safer.“ Seems like a strange decision for a Conservative Party that claims to be the most committed to upholding ‘law and order’ wouldn’t you say?

While monitoring and opposing these reckless cuts and others has been added to my ‘to-do list’ for the fall session, I am happy to be able spend some quality time in our riding where there are a lot of great events that I hope to attend over the rest of the summer. These are but only a few of the many great local events in my calendar, so I apologize in advance for any that I have missed;

Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, July 26 – 28, 2012.
Rainy River Valley Agricultural Fall Fair, August 16 -18, 2012.
Westfort Street Fair, August 25, 2012.
Morson International Bass Tournament, August 25 – 26, 2012.
100th Annual Hymers Fall Fair, September 2 – 3, 2012.
Slate River Plowing Match, September 9 – 10, 2012.

If you have any local events that you would like to have mentioned in my columns or would like me attend over the summer, then please forward all relevant information to my office by email to (john.rafferty@parl.gc.ca) or call my office toll-free at 1-800-667-6186.

Thanks again for reading and have a great week!

For information on the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program, please visit: www.publicsafety.gc.ca

For more information on the Police Officers Recruitment Fund, please visit: www.publicsafety.gc.ca