Government spending on innovation, research and development should benefit Summerland, said Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, commenting on the new federal budget.
Summerland is home to the Pacific Agri-food Research Centre.
“Not only are we going to be able to create new varietals, but things like new methods for storage and shipping agricultural products. This will help us move into new markets.”
The budget, unveiled last Thursday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, aims to reduce overall spending by $5.2 billion.
Albas said to focus on the budget cuts is to miss the primary focus of the plan which is job growth and long-term prosperity.
“People want to make sure we are reforming areas of government to make sure Canadian businesses will invest in their research and development.
Of interest to both the senior and working populations of Summerland are the budget’s changes to Old Age Security. Retirement age will rise from 65 to 67 starting in 2023. Albas said people are living longer and healthier, and there are fewer working people to support the retired population. Another change is flexibility about when a person can start to draw an old age pension, allowing people to work longer and collect more benefits later.
Commenting on the elimination of the penny as Canadian currency, he noted that it costs a cent and a half to manufacture one penny.
“We all know pennies just end up in the bottom of the couch.”
Albas said South Okanagan residents, with their proximity to the international border, will be interested in the increased travel exemption for bring goods into Canada. Canadians who are in the United States for 24 hours or more will be able to bring back $200 worth of goods free of tax or duty, up from the current $50. With a stay of of 48 hours or more, the limit will be $800, up from the current $400.