For immediate release
March 31, 2012
Kamloops, BC – Joyce Murray, Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra with a portfolio that includes Small Business and Tourism, and Western Economic Diversification (WED), concluded her three-day Thompson Okanagan consultation in Vernon and Kamloops, meeting with local business, tourism and municipal leaders.
“I was inspired by the dedication and local strategic collaborations to strengthen small businesses in this region,” said Ms. Murray. “The tourism and small business sector is a vital element of the Northern Thompson and Okanagan area economy, and I came to meet with leaders in these sectors to discuss the role of federal policies in fostering the conditions for growth and jobs.”
MP Murray heard from community leaders whose views included the need for immigration law changes to facilitate access to skilled workers, improved timeliness and predictability of federal infrastructure funding, and ideas for tax relief and credits to support small business and entrepreneurs. “Several people mentioned federal support for housing and childcare affordability as key programs that could help young families live and work in these cities,” noted Murray.
In the wake of the 2012 Federal Budget, Murray noted that another increase in EI payroll taxes this year will add to the challenges of small business. “With unemployment rates still high in the region, I had hoped to see a budget focused on jobs,” she said. “The Budget’s $30 million dollar cut to Western Economic Diversification, and the 20% reduction in the federal tourism marketing budget mean even less federal support will be available.”
Ms. Murray began her tour with meetings in Osoyoos, Penticton and Kelowna, and was a keynote speaker at the National Aboriginal Tourism Conference at NK’Mip Resort. She would like to thank all participants and hosts for their time, and looks forward to communicating their feedback to the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa.
Office of Joyce Murray