MP Simms said, in Gander in 2012, there still wasn’t a lot of movement on new search and rescue equipment, in particular fixed wing aircraft, for 9 Wing Gander, or on the construction of new buildings at the Canadian Forces Base.
“These (two issues) have been ongoing for years, and once again will have to be on the table in 2013…hopefully, we can get something done,” he said. “Also in 2013, we will see the loss of around 30 valuable (Service Canada) jobs to the town of Gander, as well as more jobs lost in Grand Falls-Windsor.”
A decision, combined with several other moves made by the federal government in regards to its services in rural Newfoundland and Labrador during the past number of years, he said, will see (this) federal government having less relevance on the lives of people in his riding.
“Regionalization seems to have been the trend (for the federal government) in 2012, and it was done foolishly and without considering the ramifications of why and what they were doing…it wasn’t as great a money-saving exercise as they thought it was going to be,” he said. “So my question is, ‘Why continue to do it?’
“It seems Mr. Harper will never bend and say they should put the marine rescue sub-centre back in St John’s, or Service Canada back in Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor.”
Another point of contention with Mr. Simms that he considers didn’t draw a lot of attention from the federal government in 2012 was the move from broadband to high-speed Internet service, which he said affects approximately 60 communities in his riding.
“However, the number one issue in my riding that my three district offices dealt with was senior poverty,” he said. “The cost of living, such as food and fuel for heat, is rising, and the fixed income of our seniors can’t keep pace with rising costs. This needs to be seriously looked at in the year to come.”
Mr. Simms said these issues, as well as others such as the crab fishery in 3K and the shrimp plant in Port Union, will be on his agenda to fight for in the year to come.
“It’s going to be a tough season coming up for the crab fishery in 3K because the low catch rates is going to have a great affect,” he said. “We need to look at an increase here because it’s going to be brutal, as well as one in the amount of cod (fishermen) are allowed to catch.”