Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Isolation Is A Thing Of The Past!

Apparently, the islands won't be as isolated a it has been in the past. The Government of Canada has decided to establish a winter link between the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island, during the months of February and March. These are the two months when the islands are normally left in near complete isolation from the rest of the continent, due to ice conditions in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

In the past few years, ice has not been considered a problem for navigation around the islands and PEI. However, although islanders ave been protesting for a maritime link, the government has been slow to act. Jean-Pierre Blackburn, the Federal Minister for Economic Development made the announcement on Tuesday, in the name of the Minister of Transport, Lawrence Cannon. The Conservative Minister agrees that the economic benefits generated, that will be set in place for the Islands, will justify such a project.

The mayor of one of the Municipalities of the islands, Municipalité des Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Joël Arseneau, was instrumental in getting the decision pushed through. It is expected to cost between one and two million dollars per year, to open this two month winter link. The link i also expected to start early in 2009. Jean-Pierre Blackburn is assured that this project is probably the best route to follow to establish a permanant link with the continent.

"This is an historical cornerstone for the development and the economic diversification of the Magdalen Islands," said Claire Gaudet, director of the Islands Chamber of Commerence. Raymond Blais, Parti Quebecois deputy, indicated that islanders must remain vigilant where this file is concerned to attain its permanence.

Joel Arseneau, rest of the islands mayor.
Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Canadian Economic Development
Christopher Clark, Grosse Isle mayor
The three men are holding one of the many paper boats that had been sent to Ottawa in the form of a petition in April 2007, to have and open link to the mainland all year.
(Photo by Danny Poirier, journalist for the Radar)

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