Harper promises $20 million for lobster industry during P.E.I. stop
Published Thursday, September 10, 2015 11:58AM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, September 10, 2015 8:48PM ADT
The Conservatives are promising to invest $20 million more in the Canadian lobster industry if re-elected.
Stephen Harper made the announcement during his first campaign stop in Prince Edward Island Thursday.
The platform promise includes a $15-million partnership with the Lobster Council of Canada to market and promote lobster abroad, plus $5 million in research, all over three years.
“We will focus on the critical Asian and European markets further to make better-informed decisions about lobster fishing seasons, licensing and harvesting,” Harper said.
Harper said the NDP and the Liberals are ill-equipped to promote the international trade deals that help Canadian industries.
The Conservatives are facing a serious challenge in Atlantic Canada, where high rates of unemployment are fuelling dissatisfaction with the government.
Ian McPherson, the executive director of the Prince Edward Island Fishermen's Association, said he appreciates the offer from the Prime Minister, but he was hoping to hear a few more details.
“We're quite a bit behind Maine in terms of promoting our Canadian lobster and we've got a great story to tell so we want to get out there and tell it to the world,” McPherson said.
This campaign stop wasn't as rowdy as some others have been. Questions were asked about the Syrian refugee crisis and about Senator Mike Duffy, but supporters let the Harper answer them.
Harper's appointment of Mike Duffy to represent P.E.I. in 2009, despite the fact he had lived in Ottawa for decades, has also been a source of criticism in the province. One reporter asked Harper if he regretted appointing Duffy as a Prince Edward Island senator.
“Everybody who's been appointed to the Upper Chamber by me - and frankly, by previous governments - are all people who have had considerable success in life and they understand the responsibilities of office,” Harper replied. “And I think all Canadians have a right to expect at all times the highest standards of behaviour from them.”
Harper also visited a wharf in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., to see firsthand where some of the $620-million dollar lobster catch is landed. The tour then stopped in Saint John, N.B., at the Irving oil refinery.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis