The Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce gives Budget 2016 a tentative B- grade with hope for the future.  “We are cognisant that the Trudeau government has only been in power for 147 days and a lot of plans are still in the works”, said Chamber Executive Director David D. Hull.  “There was a lot of commitment to the middle class and mostly in the social areas in this budget.  We hope the talked about phase two will contain more commitment to spending that will be build a sustainable economy.”

The government’s 29.4 billion dollar deficit is certainly a concern for the Chamber.  “Our debt to GDP ratio is still significantly better than the United States or western European countries however debt is debt,” said Hull.  “Smart debt that is going to produce economic growth in the long term is acceptable but it takes a lot of discipline by the government and their ministries.”

A lot of the anticipated infrastructure spending has been deferred to “phase 2” expected to be rolled out in later 2016.  Chambers of Commerce and local governments across the country will be looking for fiscal good news sooner than later.  Hull summed it that essentially the government has said “we are working on it and will get back to you.”

An unexpected 50 million dollars for Destination Canada was welcome news to the business community.  There is no region in Canada that does not benefit from tourism and certainly the Kootenays will benefit from increased Canadian tourism.

The Cranbrook Chamber thinks the one billion dollars earmarked for universities for innovation research may not be the best use of the funding.   “We are actually among leaders world-wide in innovation but where we fall short is getting from the mind to the market”, said Hull.  “We need to monetize our innovation and have it contribute to our economy and our competitiveness.”

The fine details of the budget will emerge over the next few weeks and the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce will be analysing and commenting as information is release.