The target audience was local business people, representatives from post secondary institutions and some non-profits. (One business guy smilingly observed that it had been a tough year for him so he almost could have been classified with the 'non-profits'.)
Most feedback had to do with how to clear away red tape that can be a burden to business and ways for small business to handle the credit crunch many are feeling. At every session I was reminded that it is businesses, not governments, who create the vast majority of full time jobs.
If businesses are able to be successful they will hire more people and buy more products to move their enterprises along. All of that adds up to fueling the economy and keeping our standard of living at one of the best levels in the world.
This theme was common, whether being voiced by a restaurant owner in Comox or a high tech manufacturer in Quebec City. The feeling was we were generally on the right track but could be doing better in a number of specifically mentioned areas and issues. I can guarantee that some of what we heard will make it into the Budget next month.
Stats Canada just released the latest figures on the state of our economy. They showed that our economy has now grown for 5 consecutive quarters and has lead to a net increase of over 400,000 new jobs. They also point out that ours is the strongest economy of all G-7 countries.
Something seems to be working.
This week will be packed with 'to do' items in Parliament. We will be pursuing a number of economic issues related to doing business in Canada and overseas.
On that point, Prime Minister Harper was in Morocco to announce the beginning of free trade talks. Currently Canadian exporters and importers do about a third of a billion dollars in trade there. A lot of that is our agriculture products so this will be another boost for our farmers.
Also, a trade deal there would do a lot to open up access with the African and Mediterranean markets. While he was there the PM made comments about our concerns on the situation in Egypt. Plans are also in play to evacuate Canadians who may be unable to get out.
So, as you can see…. lots on the parliamentary plate this week.
I'll be back on Thursday night and Friday morning for meetings in Vancouver related to my duties as Regional Minister for BC.
Friday afternoon and Saturday I'll be right here in Paradise for constituency meetings.
Some of you were saying that you had glimpsed me on TV hobbling around with a cast and crutches. I'd love to tell you that I got injured by doing something heroic. Actually, I got hit while on a pre-dawn run, but not by a speeding train. It was a large (unleashed!) speeding dog which sent me flying through the air, landing upside down on the pavement and tearing my ankle ligaments in the process.
So to my fellow Okanagan runners who I met up with at the Boston Marathon last time, looks like I'm off the early morning training program for this season. I'll be cheering for you (a few pounds heavier) in April from Okanagan's sunny shores. Train hard and beware of speeding dogs.
My injury has all-party support in Parliament. My Conservative colleagues are pleased that my right foot was not hurt.
And my Opposition friends are pleased to see me leaning distinctly to the left.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.