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Budget 2006 - The Right Choices : Momentum for Growth and Prosperity

March 30, 2006
(Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs)

The Right Choices: Renewing our Commitment to Labrador

The Williams government is renewing its commitment to encourage growth and prosperity in Labrador with $60 million in strategic investments in Budget 2006, ranging from expanded ferry service to providing performance space, to violence prevention and mineral exploration, which will deliver real, positive change for Labradorians.

"We have been making continuous progress in embracing the opportunities and addressing the challenges of Labrador since forming the government two years ago," said Premier Williams. "Our actions reflect our commitment to act on priorities identified by Labradorians to bring about a stronger, more vibrant economy for the region."

Paul Shelley, Minister responsible for Labrador Affairs, says that Budget 2006 will benefit residents in all regions of Labrador. "In mid-March, we made a number of infrastructure announcements in Happy Valley-Goose Bay that were met with widespread approval. Budget 2006 makes further pledges to improving transportation infrastructure in Labrador, as well as other economic and social priorities. All regions of Labrador will benefit from this budget."

Building and Maintaining Infrastructure in Labrador
The scope of investments in Labrador�s infrastructure reflects a period of remarkable opportunity and the importance of building a vibrant economic climate. Budget 2006 provides more than $50 million to construct infrastructure in Labrador in 2006 as part of commitments totalling more than $200 million over the next four years. This builds on government�s focus to improve economic infrastructure, leading to job creation and increased productivity. Highlights include:

  • $2.8 million to complete vessel refits for the MV Sir Robert Bond and the MV Northern Ranger to ensure the safety of marine services for Labrador;
  • $2.7 million for provincial road projects in Labrador, including rehabilitating bridges at Trout Brook, Pinware River and Forteau Brook;
  • $1.2 million for construction of a new transportation depot at Chateau Pond between the communities of Red Bay and Lodge Bay;
  • $759,000 to extend the operating season of the Straits ferry service � from St. Barbe to Blanc Sablon � by four weeks;
  • $700,000 to increase snow clearing efforts on the Red Bay to Lodge Bay section of the Trans Labrador Highway;
  • $325,000 to develop a comprehensive Labrador Transportation Strategy; and,
  • As recently announced, $25.5 million to further construct Phase III of the Trans- Labrador Highway, including 50 kilometres near Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Cartwright. Another $15 million � subject to 50-50 federal-provincial cost-sharing � will be put towards a sealed surface on Phase I of the Trans- Labrador Highway between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush.
  • Capital investments of over $7.5 million this year will improve access to health care, support Labrador�s culture, and promote educational opportunity. These funds will support performance space for eastern Labrador, the development of a new long-term care facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, improved facility arrangements for College of the North Atlantic�s campuses (in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Labrador West), a new satellite dialysis unit, and a new health centre in Labrador West. (Details were announced by Premier Williams in mid-March and are available online at

    Respecting Labrador�s Natural Beauty

    The Williams government recognizes that the natural environment remains one of our most important economic assets. Budget 2006 commits more than $2.8 million towards preserving Labrador�s natural beauty and supporting sustainable tourism. This includes:

  • $1,324,600 to fulfill provincial obligations for the implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, such as land use planning, surveys, and co-management boards;
  • $516,800 for the second year of a six-year project to monitor the effects of the Trans- Labrador Highway on the threatened Mealy Mountains woodland caribou;
  • $460,000 to support an expanded fire suppression program to protect Labrador�s forests, including the use of contract aircraft fire suppression during the height of the fire season;
  • $230,000 to develop infrastructure in Pinware River Provincial Park, such as a comfort station and a dumping station;
  • $148,400 towards an updated estimate of Davis Strait polar bear populations to ensure that the polar bears are not overharvested;
  • $100,000 to continue funding for Destination Labrador, a non-profit organization comprising industry and governmental representatives from all regions of Labrador to develop and market Labrador tourism; and,
  • $40,000 over two years to Point Amour Lighthouse in southern Labrador to update the interpretation centre and develop a trail system.
  • Supporting Safe and Secure Communities in Labrador

    The Williams government envisions a society where relationships are built on equality and respect. More than $1.2 million is directed in Budget 2006 to support community safety and to act on recommendations of the Aboriginal Law Project Report.

    "During the recent Aboriginal women�s conference, and in consultations with Aboriginal leaders and women last November, we heard concerns about the social, cultural, economic and environmental needs of their communities," said Tom Rideout, Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. "Budget 2006 makes commitments that reflect many of the concerns of Aboriginal people in the province, such as public safety, suicide, and the cost of living."

    Additional funding of $230,000 for transition homes in Hopedale and Labrador City will support temporary housing in a safe, secure environment for women and their children leaving abusive relationships. A suicide prevention initiative will involve research and training programs for Aboriginal communities experiencing a high level of suicides, at a cost of $120,000 over two years. Sex offender and family violence treatment programs will be provided at the Labrador Correctional Centre (LCC), which will also now support Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) assessments, at a cost of $50,000 and $33,600 respectively. Other initiatives include:

  • Funding to hire legal aid staff in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to improve access to justice in Labrador, which is consistent with recommendations of the Aboriginal Law Project Report;
  • One additional RCMP officer in Nain and administrative positions in Forteau and Mary�s Harbour, which will build upon previous funding of 11 new RCMP officer positions in Labrador;
  • Expand court security to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush;
  • Develop a translation interpretation strategy and a cultural training strategy to provide broader access to Labrador justice services; and,
  • Establish Supreme Court circuit courts for coastal communities to improve access to justice services in remote areas.
  • As recently announced, Budget 2006 also provides $120,000 to continue a community-based grants program and collaborative work to address quality of life issues for Aboriginal women and children. (Details are available at

    Strengthening Opportunities in Labrador

    Budget 2006 includes a range of Labrador-specific funding that can lead to improved economic and social development opportunities. Among these are:

  • $400,000 (an increase of $100,000) in annual funding for the air food-lift subsidy program to provide nutritious food such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products at a more reasonable price in Labrador�s coastal communities;
  • $250,000 for geological studies that support mineral exploration, including $200,000 to conduct a geochemical sampling and analysis program in prospective areas of Labrador, and $50,000 to continue the systematic bedrock mapping project in the Voisey�s Bay area; and,
  • $107,000 to fund a drill core collection program in Labrador that will gather existing material left in the field and make it available to other geologists.
  • Media contact:
    Alex Marland, Labrador Affairs, (709) 729-4062, 690-6047
    Lori Lee Oates, Aboriginal Affairs, (709) 729-3733, 690-8403

    2006 03 30                                               2:30 p.m.

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