Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes says at first glance, it appears today’s provincial budget doesn’t have a lot for those being impacted by the downturn in the forest industry.
That won’t sit well with forestry workers who were rallying outside on the front lawn of the legislature.
Oakes says they represented small businesses, contractors, and logging truck drivers…
“The message really is that the forest sector is in crisis. We are in a time of significant change and we all know that. The challenge is the folks out on the front lawn want to know what are the elected officials going to do. What is the plan ? You know for economic recovery and where is that support going to be for families ?”
Oakes says she would have liked to have seen a stronger focus on job creation and some more opportunities around economic development…
“Last year when they took the money out of the rural dividend they said that they were going to restore that funding, and we were hoping to see that in this budget. At first glance, granted we haven’t had a chance to go through it line by line, we haven’t seen the funding for the rural dividend funds. We’ve lost 32,000 private sector jobs and we really want to see what the plan was to get that back.”
Oakes says there are also 22 new or increased taxes in the budget, which she says will likely be passed on to small businesses, who will in turn have to pass it on to the average person.
Oakes says there were some things that she liked in the budget…
“I am hopeful, there was an announcement of money for foundry centres in BC, and I am really hopeful that Quesnel is successful in getting a youth foundry program. There was an announcement for increased funding in education for more Councillors and psychiatrists in schools and we certainly know we need to be supporting our young people and helping them with mental health and addictions, so I am really hopeful that some of that funding will come and help our communities.”
Oakes says she is also interested in seeing the details around the announcement that was made in the budget around biofuels.