Cuts not so severe: Clement – by Jonathan Migneaul (Sudbury Star – April 9, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Cuts to the Federal Economic Initiative for Northern Ontario in the latest federal budget are closer to $200,000 rather than the tens of millions claimed by the NDP, Tony Clement, the government minister responsible for FedNor, said Monday.

Industry Canada’s Report on Plans and Priorities for 2013-14 showed the Conservative government slashed the budget for community economic development by 26% from $81 million in forecast spending for 2012-13 to $60.3 million in planned spending for 2014-15.

NDP leader Thomas Muclair, during a Northern Ontario tour last week, said the cuts would affect FedNor, the federal department responsible to boost economic development in Northern Ontario.

“Unfortunately,” Muclair said, “the Conservatives’ cuts, the planned cuts of tens of millions of dollars from the budget of FedNor, will have a devastating effect in the whole region, particularly in centres of excellence. (The cuts will be) 20% this year, 25% next year.

“Those are the actual cuts to FedNor. If Tony Clement says anything otherwise, he’s not telling the truth. This is not a matter of ‘he said, she said,’ these are facts, they are printed on a piece of paper.”

But Clement said community economic development includes national programs that do not fall under FedNor, and those programs received the bulk of the cuts.

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