Prime Minister speaks in Bay Roberts
‘Lower taxes, balanced budgets and more jobs … that’s our vision’
After arriving inside Harbour International Ltd.’s Moorfrost facility in Bay Roberts Saturday evening, Prime Minister Stephen Harper maintained he was the best man for the job heading into the Oct. 19 federal election.
With approximately 100 supporters and an event soundtrack that included classic rocks staples from Aerosmith and Guns n’ Roses, the Prime Minister focused his speech mostly on the economy, taxes and balancing the federal budget.
He maintained that the coun- try needed the “budget balanced now and not on the backs of future generations."
“Lower taxes, balanced budgets and more jobs … that’s our vision,” Harper told his supporters.
There were diverging storylines, such as mentions of ISIS, the war in Ukraine and Israel’s right to exist. Oh, and Harper mentioned something that should be of interest to many people in this province and that’s his stance on minimum processing requirements (MPRs), which were supposed to be part of the CETA free trade deal with Europe.
“We promised to compensate the fishing industry for any losses from the removal of minimum processing requirements, and while we haven’t yet been able to reach a deal on specifics with the provincial government, we have the strong support of industry for this deal, and I can tell you, one way or another, our government will deliver compensation for MPRs,” Harper said.
The issue of MPRs has been a sticky one between the province and the federal government. It's a provincial responsibility, and the NL government has threatened to back out of a trade agreement between Canada and Europe that requires the province to eliminate MPRs. The federal government was expected to fund the majority of a compensation package for harvesters who would lose income over the deal. Last year, Premier Paul Davis told reporters the feds were introducing new conditions on the compensation package that the province didn't appreciate.
That would impact many of the fish harvesters in this province, including those in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region. That news drew a round of raucous applause from supporters, some of whom were harvesters.
Any attempts to have the prime minister elaborate on his MPR statement were unsuccessful, as members of the media were not permitted any questions at the event.
While there was plenty of love for Harper inside the cold stor- age facility, that was not the case outside. A vocal group of protesters took up residence across the street from the facility’s entrance shouting anti-Harper and anti-Conservative slogans.
They shouted things like “this is what democracy looks like” and other similar chants.
Harper’s event was the only one of three visits from party leaders to be met with a protest. By all accounts, the visits of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair were drastically different.
Where Harper’s event was invite-only, the other two were open to the public. Both leaders also fielded questions from the media.
It was Harper’s first visit to Newfoundland and Labrador since 2012.
“We promised to compensate the fishing industry for any losses from the removal of minimum processing requirements, and while we haven’t yet been able to reach a deal on specifics with the provincial government, we have the strong support of industry for this deal, and I can tell you, one way or another, our government will deliver compensation for MPRs.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper spoke at a Conservative rally in Bay Roberts Saturday. It was an invite-only audience. Reporters were not permitted to ask questions following his appearance.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought up minimum processing requirements during his speech in Bay Roberts Saturday.