The first federal budget of the new Liberal government will undoubtedly be a key topic of conversation at the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce’s (SSMCOC) upcoming business breakfast with MP Terry Sheehan on March 30th.
As the government moves from a $10 billion deficit to $30 billion, the Chamber will be asking ‘What is there in this budget that will help Sault Ste. Marie deal with its present economic situation and build for the future?’ A significant portion of the budget’s spending focuses on building transit capacity within the larger urban areas and does little to address the needs of our Northern communities to connect to those markets, let alone the global markets that will bring new monies to the North.
“There are many questions that our members have with respect to how they, the business community, can benefit from the expenditures and investments of their tax dollars in this community. Local procurement will be key in stimulating challenged economies like ours here in Sault Ste. Marie,” says Monica Dale, SSMCOC President.
As the government invests in our First Nations and those that need housing, the Chamber is questioning whether the government will have in place a procurement process that gives preference to locally supplied services, builders and contractors.
“Done right, the government’s commitment to building infrastructure can be an important investment in the future. However, every dollar being committed is borrowed money that we can’t afford to waste,” says Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) President and CEO, Perrin Beatty. “The government must focus on the projects that will benefit Canada’s economy the most: trade-enabling infrastructure, urban infrastructure and measures to support our resource and manufacturing sectors. We hope to see more of these concrete measures in the second phase of the infrastructure plan.”
The SSMCOC feels that while the federal government can be commended for recognizing that long-term infrastructure improvement will contribute to the growth of the over-all economy, it notes that our community is facing immediate challenges and is questioning what can we expect in terms of support for the economic challenges that the Sault is facing today.
The coming week will provide an opportunity for the Chamber membership to digest the announced $30 billion deficit and the related government expenditures so that they can bring their praise and /or concerns to the floor at the Chamber’s 2016 Business Breakfast Dialogue with MP Terry Sheehan as he talks with SSMCOC Executive Director, Rory Ring.
Chamber members and non-members are invited to join the conversation on March 30th and discuss opportunities for the Sault’s future and the direction moving forward into 2016. To register for the Chamber’s Dialogue with MP Terry Sheehan business breakfast, contact the Chamber of Commerce Office at 705-949-7152, email [email protected] or go to http://www.ssmcoc.com