Vegreville Case Processing Centre

Click to read the Mayor of Vegreville’s comments: “While we have heard the Prime Minister say he wants to work with our community, we have never had an inquiry from his office or Minister Hussen about the consequences to the Town of Vegreville.”

Hon. Betty Unger:  Honourable senators, my question is for Senator Harder.  It’s a follow up on the Vegreville questions.  It’s difficult to find anyone outside of Liberal government who agrees with the decision to clinical trials the Vegreville case processing centre.  In fact, the list of communities, councillors, associations and parliamentarians and others are lining up to denounce this action, and that speaks volumes.

Let me name a few of these: Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties; Alberta Federation of Labour President, Gil McGowan; Alberta Minister of Labour Christina Gray; Alberta Urban Municipalities Association; Angela Pitt, Alberta MLA; Beaver County; City of Cold Lake, County of Two Hills; Elk Island Public Schools; Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

I could go on and on.  I have four pages of people who have added their names to this list.

Senator Harder, can you update this chamber on whether or not the government will in fact be restarting the review process to properly consult with the people of Vegreville?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate):  I thank the honourable senator for her question and her ongoing advocacy on this matter.  The Government of Canada continues to believe that this is a business decision made in the best interests of taxpayer funds and the efficiency and effectiveness of the department concerned.

Senator Unger:  Senator Harder, are you saying that in this short period of time, since I last asked you, that the government is proceeding with this, I use the phrase, wrong headed decision without any sort of consultation with the town of Vegreville about this decision?

Senator Harder:  Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question, and I would repeat what I’ve said earlier.  The department has undertaken consultations with the municipality of Vegreville on an ongoing basis.  Obviously there is a view within the municipality that differs from the policy of the Government of Canada.  The Government of Canada continues to move ahead with its intentions and is looking to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in an effective fashion and in the relocation of the processing centre to Edmonton.