Federal Minister visits Vulcan
By Derek Wilkinson, Vulcan Advocate
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 12:02:29 MDT PM
John Barlow, Macleod MP, and Honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, minister of labour and status of women, came to Vulcan on July 14 to discuss a variety of topics at the Vulcan Legion Hall. Roughly 40 members of the community were in attendance to hear what they had to say and to field some questions of their own.
Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, minister of labour and status of women, and John Barlow, Macleod MP, came to town on July 14 with the Vulcan and District Chamber of Commerce to highlight the importance of strong labour relations and the inclusion of women in the workforce, emphasizing the critical role they play in Canada’s economy.
Roughly 40 members of Vulcan’s business community and the community at large came to hear Leitch and Barlow’s presentation at the Vulcan Legion Hall.
Barlow kicked off the presentation by stating the importance of women in the Canadian economy, especially those in the skilled trade industries. Barlow said women who enter into the skilled trades see, on average, a 120 percent increase in their salaries.
“That is huge, and it’s a significant impact on the Canadian economy,” he said.
Barlow continued by saying that, over the next 10 years, businesses owned by women continue to grow by 10 percent every year, and in the next 10 years are expected to contribute an influx of $200 billion into the national economy.
“I don’t think too many Canadians realize the profound impact that women have,” he said.
“I think it’s something we really overlook so we want to try and raise awareness and bring attention to the power that women have in the Canadian economy.”
Barlow introduced Leitch, an orthopedic pediatric surgeon at the Children’s Hospital in Ottawa, a Dalhousie MBA graduate, a member on a variety of committees, an active parliamentarian, and minister.
Leitch began her presentation by stating the “competitive advantages” Canadians have that other countries “simply don’t.”
“First and foremost we have the strongest economy on the globe,” she said, adding that Canada leads the G7 and G20 countries economically.
Leitch went on to sing the praises of the PC Government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“For those of you that have small businesses, we’re lowering taxes once again,” she said, stating the federal government has lowered taxes over 150 times since coming into office in 2006. Leitch said the federal government is lowering tax rates on small business owners to nine percent from 11, the lowest taxes at the federal level in 50 years.
“I’m very proud to be part of a government that has taken us back, literally, to a time frame before I was born on taxation rates on Canadians.”
“That means you’re keeping more money for yourselves, but it also means we can provide more benefits to your families,” she said.
Leitch then outlined two “signature” items, the universal child care benefit and the family tax cut package, stating the child care benefit for kids under six is almost doubling to $2,000 annually, a new benefit for children aged six to 17 of roughly $720 annually is being introduced, as well as an increase for child care deductions. She said parents with two children can expect to save up to $3,300 per child annually.
“One of our best competitive advantages in this country are women. They’re the best educated pool of women in the world and that provides us great opportunities and we’re trying to take advantage of that,” she said, noting that continual support and encouragement of women entrepreneurs and skilled tradeswomen is “vital” to the economy.
“I’m delighted to be here and to talk to you about the things that we’re focused on but also to take any of your questions because we know if you’re supported here and you’re able to grow your businesses here it’s good for the Canadian economy.”
Leitch then opened the floor to questions from the audience, the majority of which pertained to local and provincial hot button topics like the temporary foreign worker program, the minimum wage increase, and the waning oil industry.
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