Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, speaks with North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold during a Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce breakfast Monday, March 2 at Eatology. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

‘We need to do more,’: Minister on middle-class squeeze in Vernon

Quality of life and well-being at the top of new minister’s mandate

The head of a new ministry created to examine quality of life and well-being in Canada made her first B.C. stop in Vernon.

Mona Fortier is Minister of Middle Class Prosperity of Canada, and also the association minister of finance and development.

On the job since just November, the minister’s mandate is to develop a plan to place quality of life and well-being at the heart of government policy making.

“We know that too many Canadians are feeling that financial squeeze at the end of the month,” Fortier told approximately 20 Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce members at Eatology Monday, March 2.

To understand what it means to have a good quality of life, Fortier is working with Canadians to understand what they need. That includes visiting various communities, such as Vernon, which was followed by Kelowna Monday, then Surrey and Victoria.

The minister, and Ottawa-Vanier MP, said the government has done a good job of lifting many out of poverty, particularly through the Canada Child Benefit.

In the North Okanagan-Shuswap, 11,390 families receive the Canada Child Benefit, reaching 20,080 children.

That works out to an average yearly payment of $6,800 per family.

“We can do more to help Canadians,” she said. “We need to do more.”

One local business owner said the government actually needs to step back from helping in some areas.

“The government tends to want to build housing for people, which is completely wrong, you need to stimulate investors,” Okanagan Spirits president Tony Dyck said. “Free enterprise will build the buildings if the tax system is set up right.

“I’d rather you do it direct and help individuals who need help than building housing.”

Another businessperson suggested the government support the struggling forestry industry, which is shutting down mills and cutting jobs.

The government is also dedicated to getting resources where they are needed, the minister said.

“The Trans Mountain project is exactly why we are focused on moving our commodities,” Fortier said.

CP Rail blockades have also prevented resources from moving in recent weeks, which is why she says the government is dedicated to resolving the issues.

“Having blockades is not the solution and at some point it has to stop,” said Fortier, noting there’s been movement in the past few days. “One thing is making sure our commodities and resources get to places they need to be.”

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold said the blockades have been the No. 1 issue on constituents’ minds.

“We haven’t had that many calls on one issue in the last five years,” said Arnold, who spoke in the House recently about a Salmon Arm farmer who had an order for two rail cars of feed for his 300,000 chickens and couldn’t get it because of the blockades.

READ MORE: Protesters set up beside Vernon highway

READ MORE: Federal minister to speak in Vernon


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, speaks with Tony Dyck, an Okanagan business owner, during a Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce breakfast event Monday, March 2 at Eatology. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

‘Justice for Mona’ protests planned in Kelowna, Lower Mainland

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check

Neighbourhood pond dries up again

The RDCO filled up the pond on Hall Road but it’s drying up again

Orphaned Okanagan beavers admitted to rehab centre

The two beavers are in the care of the Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Car smashes into Kelowna dollar store

The vehicle went through the front window of the store just off Highway 97 North

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Okanagan Realtors donate big to North Westside fire department

Two Kelowna-area Realtors made a generous donation to the North Westside Fire… Continue reading

SilverStar security recovers stolen bike

Reminders to residents to keep bicycles locked up, eyes open for suspicious activity

Penticton RCMP seek help locating missing woman

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Majority of residents in support of alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

Princeton RCMP arrest suspects in violent Salmon Arm home invasion

Two men who allegedly staged a violent home invasion in Salmon Arm… Continue reading

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland solar project

Site of proposed project has been considered for previous initiatives

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

Most Read