Bill Bennett, Kootenay East MLA, was the guest speaker at the monthly Sparwood Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday last week.
Bennett’s main topic was B.C’s exporting efforts and the importance of Asia Markets, especially the important part the Elk Valley plays in it.
Bennett told the audience that B.C. has been dependant on exporting to the United States for the past 100 years, and he thinks it is time to look at other options.
Bennett praised the Elk Valley for being a major contributor to the China Market. Bennett also explained the importance of encouraging foreign students to study here, saying that international students are now one of B.C’s largest exports.
Bennett said that international students pay full price for tuition, allowing colleges and universities to create additional seats and better infrastructure.
At the end of the presentation, Bennett took questions from the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce members.
The first question was “What are the Liberals and NDP’s plans to repay the HST?”
Bennett responded by saying that the government needs to keep their AAA credit rating so they need to repay it with a balanced budget. Bennett told the members it is doable but not easy and that the NDP have not provided any workable solutions to date. Bennett stressed that the HST is a good tax and benefits most small business owners, and bringing back the PST was not just about the repayment to the Federal Government but also about fixing the PST, which he said is broken.