When Canadians go to the polls on Monday October 19, some results from this summer’s two major economic earthquakes will be known to us. Or at least, more clear.
Greece: Is it still in the Euro community after the July emergency meetings? Did August see it go back to drachmas and a more local economy? It is currently insolvent with 26 per cent unemployment, and a debt to GDP ratio of 180 per cent, despite the last-hour agreement with the EEC in mid-July.
China: shares have dropped more than 30 per cent since June. US$340 billion has been lent out by brokers for stock purchases, and the downturn is forcing shareholders to sell to cover losses. Share prices would be even lower except the government halted trading in 1,300 companies and directed state-owned financial institutions to buy shares.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recognizes that many factors are contributing to uncertainty in the economic landscape, at home and abroad.
BC’s economy continues to be robust compared to many other jurisdictions in Canada. But we need to strengthen both it, and our Canadian economy, and to this end, the Canadian Chamber is calling on all federal candidates to take action with practical solutions in four areas: Access to a powerful workforce, Access to capital, Access to technology and innovation and Access to markets.
Federal parties must make it an essential to invest in transportation infrastructure, strengthen export and international tourism promotion services, tackle internal trade barriers, and streamline regulatory processes around natural resources.
We are committed to competing – and winning. We must invest in our local economy, and invest in our young people. Here at the Kelowna Chamber, we have now spent one full year introducing new, remarkably far-reaching innovative programs to entice, and retain, young people as they emerge from education into their business lives right here in the central Okanagan.
Developing local wealth and opportunities means we can pay for new technologies here at home, and produce income streams to pay for the education, infrastructure, health care and other advantages valued by Canadians.
The upcoming election is a unique opportunity to shape a Canada that is stronger, more economically stable and more competitive. A Canada that wins.
Potential leaders will have to explain how they will make Canada work between now and October 19. We’re helping that process by hosting a Federal Candidates Roundtable Breakfast September 25, which will air on valley radio and be well-attended by our members, who will arrive questions in hand.
We’ll all have questions; it will be an enlightening exercise in democracy to hear the answers. And to know how our candidates are planning to repair the economic cracks that continue to appear world-wide, especially in Greece and China, but most importantly, here at home.