CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2018 FALL ECONOMIC STATEMENT REACTIONS

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November 27, 2018
(Medicine Hat) The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce, along with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), provided their initial comments on the 2018 Fall Economic Statement entitled “Investing in Middle Class Jobs” announced on November 21, 2018.
 
The federal government’s Fall Economic Update contains a number of important measures to address Canada’s competitiveness gap with other countries, but more urgently needs to be done, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Faster write-offs for new investment, regulatory reform and concrete actions to accelerate the removal of barriers to trade within Canada are all important steps in the right direction, and we applaud the government’s initiatives in these areas,” said Canadian Chamber President and CEO Perrin Beatty. “In advance of today’s update we have been calling for targeted tax cuts to stimulate investment, concrete measures to reduce the regulatory burden, and accelerated investments in the National Trade Corridors Fund. With today’s announcements it is clear that the government has clearly heard the message from job creators.”
 
The fiscal update reflects many of the issues that the chamber network has been focusing on. The report Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, released earlier this year, sets out a strategy to modernize Canada’s regulatory framework to improve environmental, social and economic protections while increasing investment, growth and jobs for Canadians. The CCC has committed to continue to push for regulatory reform with a focus on the resource sector including making amendments to Bill C-69.
 
“While we were pleased to see the success of the chamber network’s advocacy efforts with accelerated capital cost allowances, investments in trade enabling infrastructure, mobilizing SME exports and overall trade diversification, we are concerned that there were no plans or strategy announced to help Alberta’s struggling oil and gas industry” stated Sarah MacKenzie, Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce President.
 
 “The Chamber is concerned that today’s Economic Update lacks any plans to help Canada’s struggling energy industry. We call on government to lay out its plans for oil and gas workers during these exceptional times,” said Mr. Beatty, echoing the concerns of MacKenzie. “We would also like to understand the government’s plans to address the need for more attention to skills development and training, as well as to attracting and retaining the best talent available for all industries in Canada.”
 
In the 2015 election campaign the Liberals had promised to cap deficits at $10 billion and balance the books by 2019. Currently, there is a $19 billion shortfall forecasted for this fiscal year. The federal debt, projected to hit $688 billion this fiscal year, is expected to climb to $765 billion by 2023-2024. By that time, the annual cost of servicing the debt will be more than $34 billion a year.
 
“We remain concerned about the lack of a realistic strategy to balance the books and no commitment to a full review of the tax system,” further commented MacKenzie. “It is troubling that there is no mention of returning to balanced budgets at all. We strongly urge the federal government to consider the outcomes of stimulus spending if the economy should face future challenges.”
 
The reaction to the 2018 Federal Fall Economic Update from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce can be found here
 
Please direct all media inquiries to:
Sarah MacKenzie, President
c/o Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce
(403) 527-5214 ext.221

 
The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing the interests of businesses in our region, and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood for promoting business, monitoring government and championing managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region and is aligned with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.