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Premiers keep Infrastructure on 2009 agenda


January 2, 2009
By Andy Bateman

January 2, 2009 – The premiers of Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick have emphasized the importance of
infrastructure spending in year-end interviews with The Canadian Press.

Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald said his government is
developing a stimulus package to help the province's economy weather the world
economic downturn. The focus in 2009 will be on investing in infrastructure as
the best way of providing long-term benefit to the economy. MacDonald added
that work will continue to develop the Atlantic Gateway and the province will
also look to invest in programs aimed at boosting workers' skills and sectors
that require help, including forestry and the fishery. McDonald added that the
government will have to take every opportunity to "leverage" federal
dollars and be creative by entering partnerships with municipalities and the
private sector as the province simply doesn't have the money to "spend in
every direction."

 

New Brunswick premier Shawn Graham said his New
Year's message to the federal government is clear – the provinces need more
money, now. If Canada is to
weather the global economic crisis, Ottawa
has to stimulate the economy with funding for infrastructure and major projects
as quickly as possible. Graham says it's imperative that stimulus funding not
be tied-up in red tape or years of planning. Construction projects need to
begin in the spring, in order to protect and create jobs. Graham says he wants
to use the funding to build roads, improve schools and correctional facilities.

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All the premiers are expected to have similar messages
when they meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Jan. 16.