01/21/2013 05:19 EST | Updated 03/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Charlottetown calls federal veterans cuts unfair to P.E.I.

The City of Charlottetown is calling recent cuts at Veterans Affairs Canada unfair for Islanders.

The department announced late last week that 233 positions would be cut across Canada. On Friday CBC News confirmed 22 of those are on P.E.I.

“It is difficult to understand why the Government of Canada believes that Prince Edward Island should have to shoulder such a disproportionately large share of cuts,” said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee in a news release. “We would hope to see a greater measure of fairness in how these cuts get rolled out.”

Ottawa wants to cut federal jobs by 4.8 per cent nationally. A report commissioned by the City of Charlottetown and the province suggests the plan to do so would eliminate 10 to 12 per cent of Island jobs.

Coun. Cecil Villard said it will be economically damaging for the province.

"Three jobs in Charlottetown, or in Prince Edward Island, would be the equivalent of 10 or 12 jobs in central Canada," said Villard. "So this is not just about the federal job cuts, it's about what is the actual impact that this is going to have to the economy of Prince Edward Island."

Navy veteran Jim Ross said those cuts are particularly bad when they hit the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"The legion has tried very hard to keep Veterans Affairs the way it was and to have our veterans properly represented," said Ross. "But so far, to no avail."

The Department of Veterans Affairs said most of the jobs eliminated will be done through attrition and not layoffs. From the more than 1,000 P.E.I. workers, about 135 are currently eligible to retire, said Niklaus Schwenker, a spokesperson for the minister, in a statement.