Strong Canadian economy provides opportunity for growth in the North
Week of October 2, 2017
It’s good to see recent reports indicating that the Canadian economy is growing. More than 400,000 jobs have been created within the last two years, and since December 2015, Canada’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point in almost a decade. The economy has also exceeded second-quarter expectations by growing at an annual rate of 4.5 per cent, a first in the last 15 years. With this growth, the other encouraging statistic is that the national deficit is now $11.6 billion less than what was originally projected.
While this is good news for all of Canada, we need to make sure we are seizing the opportunities that a growing economy can bring to the North. The question is: how do we make the most of these opportunities in order to ensure success?
One of the ways is by continuing to invest in modern infrastructure. In order for businesses to be competitive and successful in the 21st century, access to reliable high-speed Internet and wide reaching cell phone service throughout all communities is a must. We also need to substantially improve our technology infrastructure, and programs such as Connect to Innovate, are helping Internet providers upgrade their infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.
Significant improvements to our region’s transportation systems, including roads and airports, remain one of my top priorities. Our riding has the unique designation of sitting along the TransCanada, the main route connecting the country. Making sure travel is both efficient and safe is non-negotiable. I want to assure residents that I have called, and will continue to call, on both the provincial and federal governments to make the necessary investments to ensure that the riding receives its fair share when it comes to infrastructure spending.
Investment in social infrastructure is also paramount. The North needs activities and engaging opportunities to draw in and keep families living in our communities. The federal government recognizes this and recently we have seen $100,000 was invested to modernize Red Lake’s community playground and another $100,000 for upgrades to Kenora’s rowing club facility.
Finally, small businesses need to flourish in order to continue as a main driver of job creation and the economic backbone of the riding. During the consultation period, I have listened to Northerners regarding proposed tax changes. These proposed changes are meant to protect and maintain small businesses’ ability to succeed and create jobs, while ensuring that the wealthiest pay their fair share. As the consultation period comes to a close, I look forward to analyzing the findings of the report and providing you with my feedback.
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