Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ice conditions Are Better for Sealing

With the harp seal hunt about a month away, officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) say ice conditions for the hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are looking better than last year.
Ice conditions have improved significantly in the last two weeks, says Fisheries and Oceans biologist Mike Hammill.Ice conditions have improved significantly in the last two weeks, says Fisheries and Oceans biologist Mike Hammill. (CBC)
The seal need ice to give birth on. DFO biologist Mike Hammill said ice conditions were looking poor just a few weeks ago.
"I was down in the P.E.I. area about two weeks ago and the ice looked like it was very poor," said Hammill.
Since then, it looks like there has been some development of ice along the north side and around the Magdalen Islands. So it looks now like the ice may be all right. We would expect pupping to start probably early next week."
In poor ice conditions last year, sealers took only about 10 per cent of the some odd 400,000 animal quota. Market conditions were also poor and that contributed to the small harvest.
While ice conditions are improving, market conditions could be getting worse. Russia, which has recently been the market for about 90 per cent Canada's harp seal products, has closed the door to imports under pressure from animal rights groups.
There are hopes China could be a market for harp seal products, but no deal has been finalized.
Federal government officials will arrive on P.E.I. at the end of the week to determine where they will set up their base for the hunt.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gas Tax Expected for the Iles de la Madeleine

The Québec Government Supports the Consolidation and Improvement of Shared Transportation in Gaspésie and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Gaspé, February 18, 2012  The Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions, Dr. Yves Bolduc, the MNA for Gaspé, Georges Mamelonet, and the MNA for Bonaventure, Damien Arsenault, today announced, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, the implementation of a plan to improve regional shared transportation services initiated by the Réseau de transport collectif de la Gaspésie et des Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

In particular, the plan provides for improved service by adding routes in municipalities not served by the existing network, as well as increased frequency of service for certain existing routes.

To fund the improvement in these shared transportation services, elected officials of the regional county municipalities of Gaspésie and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine agglomeration have asked that a gasoline tax be applied in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine administrative region.

To respond to the request of these elected officials, the Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, today released an information bulletin confirming an increase of 1 cent per litre of the fuel tax applicable to gasoline in their administrative region effective July 1, 2012, to be allocated to fund the improvement in shared transportation services. This increase will generate some $1.5 million in additional revenue annually.

“The improvement in shared transportation services will help increase the mobility of citizens in the region, invigorate the occupation of the territory and foster everyone’s participation in social and economic life through better access to the labour market as well as to social, health and education services,” Minister Bolduc pointed out.

“Today, our government is responding to the elected officials of Gaspé and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine who consider shared transportation to be a driver of economic and social development. Thanks to this source of additional revenues, it will be possible to meet the needs of our population and efficiently coordinate the provision of transportation in our region,” the MNAs for Mamelonet and Arsenault said.
The MNA for Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Germain Chevarie, also expressed satisfaction with today’s announcement, which will also benefit the people of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. “With today’s announcement, our government is showing just how much importance it places on the vitality of local and regional communities,” he added.

“Since 2010, the services offered by the Réseau de transport collectif de la Gaspésie et des Îles-de-la-Madeleine have shown the extent to which shared transportation is a major tool for economic and social development for all of Québec’s communities, including rural ones, and that is why our government supports this initiative,” Minister Bolduc concluded.

Information Bulletin 2012-2, released today, describes the application details of the tax increase. The document is available on the website of the Ministère des Finances at:

Source: Office of the Minister of Finance, Minister of Revenue
and Minister responsible for the Montréal region
Catherine Poulin
Communications Director
418 643-5270
514 873-5363
Information: Natacha Joncas Boudreau
Press Relations Officer
Office of the Minister of Health,
and Social Services
418 266-7171
Kent Moreau
Political Attaché
Office of the MNA for Gaspé
418 782-1670
Rachèle LeBlanc
Political Attaché
Office of the MNA for Bonaventure
418 392-4174