Friday August 22, 2014

Economy the top priority in 2013, says MP McLeod

'I mean we look at Domtar and that was very, very difficult announcement for this community at a very difficult time'

Cathy McLeod

The coming year is all about the economy, says Kamloops-Cariboo-Thompson MP Cathy McLeod.

Locally that means job creation, especially in the wake of a huge loss of high-paying jobs late last year.

“The most important thing is jobs, economic growth and creating an environment where businesses can survive,” said McLeod. “I mean we look at Domtar and that was very, very difficult announcement for this community at a very difficult time.”

The pulp mill giant is permanently closing one of its production lines, leading to the loss of 125 jobs.

McLeod’s focus covers the seven communities around Kamloops also struggling to attract business. To that end, a top priority includes working with municipalities and the province on the “McBride to Barriere corridor regional economic investment pilot initiative.”

Launched in December 2011, results of a brainstorming session in 2012 revealed three areas of economic development: power, fibre and tourism.

McLeod said Canada benefited from the last minute deal struck in the U.S. that averted the dreaded “fiscal cliff” — the combination of big tax increases and deep spending cuts, which would have kicked in Jan. 1 without a deal.

But the Canadian government remains vigilant.

“We certainly continue to look at Europe and the U.S. as worrisome,” said McLeod, who serves as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of national revenue and as a member of the finance committee.

The good news, said McLeod, is that Kamloops has a “reasonable unemployment rate,” and the City is in good shape in terms of its infrastructure compared to many places across Canada.

“Whether it be the Tournament Capital facilities, the sewer and water and transit systems, I think we are very, very fortunate to have the infrastructure that we need right now,” she said.

“And we have a fantastic community.”

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