Justin Trudeau faced a packed house at UBC Okanagan on Wednesday. (Image Credit: Kathy Michaels)

Kelowna Chamber pitches to prime minister

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce meet with Justin Trudeau and pitched policy requests

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce along with other national organizations are making five requests from the prime minister.

Forty-two national organizations have now joined the coalition of business leaders calling on the government to shelve the proposed changes or at the very least take more time to engage business leaders before making any changes, said the chamber.

Kelowna Chamber President Tom Dyas made the pitch directly to the finance minister and the prime minister while the Ministers were meeting in Kelowna this week.

While the tax issue has grabbed most of the attention, the Kelowna Chamber seized the opportunity while the Liberal caucus was in the Okanagan to release its policy requests of the prime minister:

1. Shelve your proposed tax policy changes – as already stated by many across the country, these massive changes will negatively impact small businesses across the nation and hurt the economy. It’s time to put the breaks on the proposals and go back to the drawing board to have a real conversation with business leaders about how to improve our tax system while ensuring we remain globally competitive and don’t do something that sends shock waves through the economy.

2. Follow the lead of the province and take greater steps to stop the spread of invasive mussels – Zebra and Quagga mussels have devastated other waterways in Canada and have had a massive impact on local economies, but so far we have dodged that bullet. More resources and attention from the feds is needed to make sure we stop this invasive species at our borders.

3. Improve the temporary foreign worker program – addressing long term labour force needs is absolutely critical for businesses in the Okanagan and elsewhere. Part of the answer is foreign workers and programs that support this solution, will help all sectors of the economy.

4. Don’t tinker with our airport – stop musing about pursuing share capitalization of Canada’s ports and major airports. The current governance structure is working, and although selling assets might generate cash for the government, it would also have a negative impact on operations and future growth.

5. Get on with establishing a national housing strategy – it has been promised, now is the time for action. A well-funded national strategy will help communities across the country address this critical issue while creating jobs and helping to lessen the burden on local governments and local taxpayers.

These issues and many others will be on the agenda in late September as chambers from across the country assemble in Fredericton, for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting.