Parsons says feds ignoring request for meetings

Brodie Thomas
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Burgeo-La Poile MHA Andrew Parsons said the federal government has denied his request for a meeting with Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt.

Andrew Parsons. — Telegram file photo

Parsons said he has been calling her office at least once a week since June, looking to meet with the minister to discuss problems with Marine Atlantic.

He said after getting indications they might be able to set up a meeting in St. John’s, Parsons was put in touch with someone else in the minister’s office who gave him a different story.

“She said in no uncertain terms that there’s not going to be a meeting,” he said.

The Gulf News contacted the minister’s office to confirm this, but Raitt’s press secretary Jana Regimbal said it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the minister’s private meetings.

She also said Marine Atlantic is an arm’s length Crown corporation responsible for its own business decisions.

That is exactly why Parsons wants to speak to Raitt. He says the corporation’s problem is a lack of funding from the federal government.

“My problem is Marine Atlantic has to make decisions based on the amount of funding they are given,” said Parsons.

Parsons said as the transportation minister, Raitt could have sway over the amount of money allocated to the corporation. More federal funding to the constitutionally mandated service could help lower fares for passengers.


Organizations: Marine Atlantic, Gulf News

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