This is from CTV. Now the Liberals will have to find a different excuse if they decide to support the Conservative budget. The aid package is no longer being used as a bribe or incentive to support their budget. I expect that the Liberals will invent some other excuse or sit on their hands.
I note that there are numerous critics whoc complain that package is not large enough. Do people every complain that an aid package is too large?
Commons passes $1B package for one-industry towns
Updated Tue. Feb. 5 2008 1:25 PM ET
The Canadian PressOTTAWA -- The House of Commons has approved a $1-billion aid package for struggling one-industry towns hit hard by economic tremors.
Opposition parties gave unanimous support Tuesday to a motion by the Conservative government to speed the bill through the House and on to the Senate without debate. The bill now is before the Senate, where fast passage is expected.
But the money from the fund - which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month - won't start flowing until after details are ironed out with provincial governments.
The move comes after the Tories were roundly criticized for originally tying the aid money to support for their next federal budget.
Opposition parties complained that the government's latest tactic left no time for questions about the way the money will be doled out, but refused to block the swift approval.
They also complained that the fund is still too small and say they'll press for additional money.
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said the fund must be set up by the end of March.
He said the details of how the money will be distributed depends on negotiations with the provinces, which are still going on.
Premiers have complained the fund isn't big enough, but Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he was pleased with the government's decision to separate the aid package from the budget.
"I'm about to say something which I rarely say: I congratulate Prime Minister Harper," McGuinty said Tuesday.
"He's done something which is good for the people of Ontario. He's done something which we've been asking of him."
The new "national community development trust fund" is aimed at helping vulnerable communities and laid-off workers in traditional industries, such as forestry, fishing and manufacturing.
These areas have been struggling against the effects of the robust Canadian dollar, rising energy prices and the American economic slump.
When the plan was announced early in January, the government said the fund was primarily for job retraining for laid-off workers and community infrastructure projects. Each province would get $10 million in base funding and each territory will get $3 million, with the rest of the money doled out on a per-capita basis.
McGuinty and his Quebec counterpart Jean Charest have both said the fund is far too small.
Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, said Ontario's share of the aid package won't be nearly enough to help struggling manufacturers.