Federal budget to help reduce flood risk

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Darrell Cole
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Farrell questions ending labour market agreements

Scott Armstrong says the federal budget will help mitigate the flooding risk in his riding.

Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong

AMHERST – There could be federal help on the way to mitigate the risk of flooding in northern Nova Scotia.

Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong is pleased to see $200 million in Tuesday’s federal budget that will establish the National Disaster Mitigation Program.

“The federal government is going to become involved in helping fund flood mitigation. That’s important for many areas of our riding,” Armstrong said, reacting the budget introduced by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “Previously, it has been more of a provincial responsibility while the federal government would help the province when there are declared disasters.”

Under the new program, that will hopefully be in place by 2015, municipalities and the provinces will be able to apply for federal funding for flood mitigation projects.

Armstrong said the funding is designed to better protect Canadians and their homes. The program, he added, will support investments in structural mitigation measures such as infrastructure to control floods that can reduce the impact of several natural disaster such as last year’s major flooding in the Truro area.

The cost of the projects will be shared by the provinces and the territories with details of the program being announced over the next few months.

The projects, he added, are also eligible for federal cost-sharing under the new Building Canada Fund.

“What this means is that the provinces, the federal government and municipalities can come together to make flood mitigation a priority so we can deal with these issues before they take place,” Armstrong said.

Along with remediating the annual flooding in places like Truro, Armstrong said the fund could assist efforts to replace the aboiteau on the marsh near Amherst. The provincial government has promised to replace the 57-year-old wooden structure and it’s possible a new aboiteau could be built later this year.

The MP said Ottawa will also be working with the insurance industry and the provinces to explore a national residential insurance flooding program. Canada, he said, is the only G-8 country without residential flooding assistance, leaving many without adequate protection from overland flooding.

Armstrong said the budget also works to improve job creation, while the new Canada Apprenticeship Loan will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades access to more than $100 million in interest-free loans each year.

The program, he said, will provide access to thousands of Canadians to interest-free federal loans so they can become qualified for jobs that employers are seeking to fill.

The government, he added, will launching a job-matching service that will automatically match Canadians looking for work with employers looking to hire them.

“Young Canadians will benefit from an investment of $55 million to create paid internships for recent graduates in small and medium-sized business and in high demand fields,” Armstrong said. “We have hundreds of thousands of jobs available in Canada but there’s no one to fill them because they don’t have the skills. People will be able to apply for these interest-free loans to go into apprenticeships for Red Seals trades. This is going to help Canadians get the training for the thousands of jobs that are out there.”

Cumberland North Liberal MLA Terry Farrell said the budget has some good parts, including eliminating the deficit, but he’s concerned with the federal government’s job creation plans.

“I’m worried about the elimination of the labour market agreements and switching it over to the Jobs Fund,” Farrell said. “That could impact groups that work with people looking for work, groups like CANSA. One job there affects so many clients. They’re preparing people to go to work and out of poverty.”

He said it’s nice that money is going into training, but it’s a question about where it’s needed most. For Cumberland County, he thinks it’s doing what organizations like CANSA do to help people get back to work.

“It’s typical Stephen Harper in that he’s bringing this in even though none of the provinces agree with it,” Farrell said. “Everyone likes the old formula, but in spite of this they’re moving forward.”

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

Organizations: Building Canada Fund, Jobs Fund

Geographic location: AMHERST, Northern Nova Scotia, Truro Canada Ottawa Cumberland North Cumberland County

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