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Chamber applauds TPP

The Kelowna Chamber applauds yesterday's announcement that Canada has successfully concluded negotiations to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as the economic benefit and jobs this trade agreement will bring our country's communities and businesses is substantial. 

Canada could not afford to sit on the sidelines as others build economic bridges throughout the Asia-Pacific. With this monumental, ground-breaking TPP agreement, Canada has the opportunity to see long-term economic benefits, in a time of on-going global economic uncertainty.
This deal means more jobs and income in our province. The Kelowna Chamber has been a strong supporter of the need for a successful conclusion to these talks and as Canada's only Pacific province, B.C. businesses and residents stand to benefit significantly.
Key benefits for B.C. include:

Fish and Seafood: Upon implementation, the TPP will eliminate tariffs on over 95 percent of fish and seafood tariffs, such as fresh, chilled and frozen salmon, prepared and preserved salmon and shrimp. Current duties on fish and seafood entering TPP countries ranged up to 15 percent in Japan and Malaysia, up to 34 percent in Vietnam, and up to 5 percent in New Zealand. Currently, B.C. exports $626.9 million worth of fish and seafood to TPP countries.
Mining: Upon implementation, the majority of industrial goods exported to TPP countries will be duty-free immediately with the majority of remaining tariffs on industrial goods eliminated within 10 years. For B.C. metals and minerals, such as aluminum, iron and steel products and petroleum products, tariffs range from 5% in Australia to 40% in Vietnam depending on the product.
Forestry: Upon implementation, forestry will see significant reductions in tariff immediately and further over the next 15 years. Current duties range from up to 10 percent on wood and other forestry products in Japan, up to 31 percent in Vietnam, up to 40 percent in Malaysia, up to 20 percent in Brunei, and up to 5 percent in Australia and New Zealand. For pulp and paper products, current duties range from up to 27 percent in Vietnam, up to 25 percent Malaysia and up to 5 percent in Australia. Currently, B.C. average $4.8 billion per year in exports of wood and other forestry products to TPP countries, and $1.5 billion per year in exports of pulp and paper.
Agriculture: Upon implementation of the TPP, the agricultural sector in B.C. will see significant reductions in tariffs immediately and over the next 15 years to beef, fresh and frozen vegetable as well as fresh cherries and fresh and frozen blueberries. Tariffs currently range from 5 percent to 56 percent depending on the country and product. Currently, B.C. exports an average of $1.6 billion to TPP countries.
Service Sector: The agreement increases access to the TPP market for B.C. professional service providers, such as mining-related services in Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand and Brunei, environmental services in markets such as Vietnam and Malaysia, and construction and/or transport services in markets such as Australia, Vietnam and New Zealand. This agreement improves upon access for temporary entry of highly-skilled business persons, making it easier for them and their spouses to temporarily move between Canada and TPP markets.

The TPP represents a total population of almost 800 million people and a combined GDP of $27.5 trillion, which represents 40 percent of global GDP and about 33 percent of all world trade. The TPP could provide annual income gains of $9.9 billion and increase our exports by $15.7 billion.
Negotiations are about give and take and are never easy; while Canada had to move on key vested interests such as supply-managed dairy and poultry, the net benefit from gaining better market access for goods, while removing restrictions on services, investments, financial services, temporary entry and government procurement is too great to pass-up. The TPP will set the standard for 21st century multilateral agreements.
The TPP is a comprehensive agreement opening new opportunities for businesses in our province and across the country, the economic impact on our nation's future is substantive.

Caroline Grover,CEO
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

New vs experienced drivers

I’d like to talk about ’N’ or ‘L’ drivers. You hear so much these days about how terrible they are at driving. I have a different perspective.

My 16 year old daughter got her ‘L’ three months ago. She has been working hard at learning the rules of the road. She insists that cellphones are off in the car. She is not a timid driver or an aggressive driver, but is actually becoming quite confident, which can be quite daunting in Kelowna traffic. 

She has saved up to purchase her own car so that she can learn in the vehicle that she will be driving. We have done countless trips into town at various times of day to get her accustomed to traffic. I think she’s going to do pretty well. 

So here’s my issue. In just one little snapshot of our drive today, we encountered countless terrible drivers (it is Kelowna after all, not hard to find those). This morning, she did her first early morning commute driving to school. We had the ‘L’ on the rear of the car. She was driving the speed limit, and in all honesty traffic was quite slow, so speeding wasn’t an issue. Yet we had one lady tailgate our bumper all the way down Benvoulin onto Casorso and down to the lights at Gordon.

She was so close in her fancy Escalade that maybe she didn’t see the ‘L’. It is kind of hard to see when you are in our back seat. We were not slowing traffic, we were in it. My daughter kept saying “Why is she tailgating? She can’t get anywhere any faster?”

I said not to worry, that we were doing just fine. We turned left onto Gordon, turning correctly into the left lane. The woman behind us turned left into the right lane (wrong) and proceeded to blow by us at three times the speed limit. 

We caught up to her at the next light. 

Looked right into her vehicle and saw her three young kids. I thought to myself: “I certainly hope that her kids won’t have to learn to drive from her.”

The moral of the story is that our new drivers are learning from our older more experienced drivers and we aren’t doing so well teaching them the right way. Get off their backs, and their bumpers! An ‘L’ is there to inform you that they are learning. Learning from their co-pilot and from other drivers on the road!

Chris Hill

Kelowna waterfront access

My wife and I moved to Kelowna in March 2015.  We love it here.

One thing that concerns us is that many homeowners and businesses along the lakefront erect fences or other barriers extending to or into the lake.  This prevents walking along the waterfront in many parts of the city. 

Are they legally allowed to erect these barriers?  If not, why is the city not demanding that they be removed?  If only some are legal, please email me a map showing which are and are not legal.  If the city lacks sufficient staff, I would be willing to volunteer to document illegal barriers.

Al Janusas

Odd flare of light last night

Has anyone in the South Okanagan reported a flare of bright light on the western horizon at about 1:45am? I was up for a bit at that time (couldn't sleep) and was sitting on my couch in the living room. I turned my head to the left and immediately noticed a bright flare (fairly large and spread out) in the horizon of the mountains that make up the area of the Apex mountain range. That's best I can describe where it was. 

There was no lightning, thunder or rain at that time, before or after. I had been looking out the window during the half hour that I was up (between 1:30-2am) off and on and so would've seen anything else that may have been going on. It almost looked like what the immediate aftermath of a meteor hitting the earth would look like.

I went to jump up to get my binoculars but by then it was gone. It was the weirdest thing.

Anyway, thought I'd mention it in case something comes of it and there were more sightings.

Teresa Taylor

Gas rates and taxes

Gas in Kelowna is $1.17. It's between $1.10 and $1.14 in Vancouver - a city with some of the highest gas taxes in the country. I just filled up in Abbotsford for $.95/ltr. Have a look at the attachment (below) from the Ministry of Finance's Tax Bulletin for 'Tax Rates on Fuels' which clearly indicates a glaring difference between the Metro Vancouver gas taxes and the rest of the province - including Kelowna.

Why in Kelowna do we consistently pay some of the highest prices for gas in the country? And given the election, are our candidates prepared to speak to it? We are paying hundreds of dollars more a year than the average Canadian on inflated gas prices. 

Someone needs to answer to this. Maybe Christy Clarke, given her riding?

Stella Valido

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