Budget supports sectors critical to North Okanagan: Chamber

Main cause of concern for the Chamber is $22.8 billion in new spending

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce supports the federal budget’s focus on bolstering the economy and easing pressure on young families and seniors, but concerns exist about the country’s overall financial condition.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget makes significant investments in the forestry, tourism and oil and gas sectors, while employees will be able to take paid leave for training at 55 per cent of weekly earnings.

“These measures will go a long ways towards supporting sectors critical to the overall economy of the North Okanagan. As for paid leave for training, this will certainly help individuals switching careers, but the program doesn’t start until late 2020 and could escalate costs for employers,” said Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager.”

Read more: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

“We also welcome the $1.7 billion for high-speed internet in rural and remote areas and the one-time transfer of $2.2 billion to address short-term priorities in municipalities as infrastructure, whether it’s roads, water lines or the Internet, provide the basic building blocks for business to succeed,” said Chambers.

Another positive aspect of the budget is the removal of the federal requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another be sold or consigned to a provincial liquor authority. And an external advisory committee on regulatory competitiveness will identify opportunities to streamline regulations.

“We hope the advisory committee will consider the excise tax that is levied on distilleries but not other alcoholic products and creates an uneven playing field for distillers, particularly when competing with U.S. companies. The Greater Vernon Chamber will continue to develop policy related to distilleries and the excise tax,” said Chambers.

Other budget measures include programs for first-time home purchasers, incentives for seniors to save for retirement and lower interest rates on student loans.

If the Chamber has a specific concern about the federal budget, it’s the $22.8 billion in new spending over the next five years comes at the same time that the 2018/19 deficit is projected to be $14.9 billion and debt of $685.6 billion is expected to climb to $761.7 billion by 2023/24.

“We understand that it takes a considerable investment to meet the needs and wants of Canadians, including business, but a home with a poor foundation puts the occupants at risk and the same goes for a nation’s ability to function effectively if the financial foundation is fractured. We need the government to put its house in order,” said Chambers.

Read more: Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples key theme in Liberal pre-election budget


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon’s Vest finishes top-two at third straight golf event

Teen phenom drops playoff at MLT Odlum Brown Classic in Surrey

Lumby pedalling toward bike park

Village and partners hope to create bike park on village property in near future

UPDATED: Power has returned in parts of Greater Vernon

Crews restore power to more than 5,000 customers after noon-hour outage

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Mistake-riddled offence leads to first loss for Okanagan Sun

The Sun lost to the Westshore Rebels 16-13

Most Read