POLITICS

Federal ministers defend announcements across P.E.I.

05/22/2012 09:23 EDT | Updated 07/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Three federal ministers attended a variety of events on P.E.I. Tuesday, but found themselves defending recent announcements made by the Conservatives.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney held a roundtable on jobs and immigration. During a feature interview on CBC’s Compass, he revealed more information about the government’s proposed changes to the employment insurance program.

For example, he said, people will no longer be able to turn down job opportunities within an hour’s drive if they expect to collect benefits.

“In Cape Breton: 13 per cent unemployment. We have Tim Horton’s, Petro-Can, McDonalds bringing in people from the Phillippines in a community with 13 per cent unemployment, where people have done that kind of retail work.”

Revenue Minister Gail Shea was busy making announcements of funding from ACOA: $52,000 to upgrade the marina at the Silver Fox Curling Yacht Club, and $250,000 for the Holland College Marine Training Centre.

But at the same time, news broke that ACOA would stop funding economic development organizations on P.E.I. and across the region.

“We’ll have a conversation with the provinces on economic development,” said Shea. “We don’t want to be duplicating a service that’s already there.”

Heritage Minister James Moore has a funding announcement scheduled for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the federal Liberals plan to get on the public radar with a town hall in Charlottetown Tuesday night. MPs Sean Casey and Judy Sgro will discuss proposed changes to Old Age Security, which would increase the eligibility age from 65 to 67-years-old beginning in 2023.