MP Tony Clement Disputes Think-Tank Findings

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TONY CLEMENT
Conservative MP and Treasury Board president Tony Clement lashed out against a report recently released by a Halifax-based think-tank that claims 4,000 federal jobs will leave Atlantic Canada in the next few years. (CP) | PC

Conservative MP and Treasury Board president Tony Clement lashed out against a report recently released by a Halifax-based think-tank that claims 4,000 federal jobs will leave Atlantic Canada in the next few years.

Calling it a "misleading report," Clement said in a written statement to CBC that the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study "significantly overstates the impact of job losses in Atlantic Canada and is based on exaggerated numbers."

The MP cited a discrepancy between the organization's figures and those of the federal government.

"Its estimates of job reductions at Veterans Affairs in Atlantic Canada, for example, are 46 per cent higher than the total departmental decrease across Canada," Clement said.

"Similarly, estimates for regional job reductions at Public Works and Government Services Canada are twice what are projected for the entire country."

Clement also took issue with the group's claim that Atlantic Canada will disproportionately hit by federal cutbacks.

"The federal government has always maintained that each region of the country will continue to retain its share of federal jobs," he said.

"And that remains the case."

Political crossfire

The CCPA study predicts 500 jobs will leave Newfoundland and Labrador by 2015, which it believes will lessen the quality of federal services in the province.

The organization is calling on government to stop cutting jobs until there has been an open debate on the issue.

Clement countered that the report failed to call attention to the Pay Centre of Excellence, a federal program supporting research in various parts of the country, which he says will create 550 new jobs in the region by 2016.

He also took aim at the CCPA's political orientation, which he categorized as "left-leaning" and union-funded.

"Given the gaping oversights and the fact that the report was paid for by federal public unions, hardworking members of the PIPSC and PSAC union are now left wondering why their union dues went to pay for this misleading report," he said.

CCPA researchers, meanwhile, accused the Harper government of deliberately keeping information about the cutbacks from the public.

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