Critic focuses on business needs

Joyce Murray, Liberal critic for small business and tourism, was in Vernon Friday meeting with businesses

A federal Liberal says Ottawa needs to do more to support entrepreneurs in the North Okanagan.

Joyce Murray, the party’s critic for small business and tourism, was in Vernon Friday as part of a tour of the Interior.

“I want to consult and listen to people in the Thompson-Okanagan on what the government is doing right and what they could do better,” said the Vancouver-Quadra MP.

“I’m hearing that some programs are helpful but I am dismayed to hear of the $30 million cut to economic development (in the federal budget). It tells me it’s not a priority. I thought jobs would be a priority.”

Besides businesses, Murray has been meeting with municipalities about access to federal money.

“They appreciate funds for infrastructure but  they want the funds to be sustainable and not just coming and going,” she said of the need for there to be certainty.

“We’re not talking about adding huge terms of investment but keeping it sustainable.”

Murray is also concerned the federal tourism agency is too focused on marketing high-profile destinations like Toronto, Vancouver and Banff.

“The feds need to do a better job of raising the profile of the Thompson-Okanagan and its signature experiences,” she said.

Her discussions have also revolved around the government’s environmental policies.

“There are artificial timelines for environmental assessments,” she said.

While in Vernon, Murray attended a lunch with local business leaders and then she met with officials at Tolko Industries and tekmar Control Systems.