SUMMERSIDE – The federal budget is not “earth-shattering” but is a move in the right direction, says Jonathan Greenan, president-elect of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce.
Jane Sharpe, executive director of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, chats with incoming President Jonathan Greenan (centre) and outgoing President Patrick McSweeney during the group’s annual general meeting on Monday. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
“It’s a move in the right direction towards a balancing the books,” Greenan said. “From the chamber’s perspective we support balanced budgets. I think they could have got there this year from the sounds of things but a slow and steady approach, we aren’t going to fault them for that. The question will come in a year’s time as to how they’re going to spend that surplus if and when it arrives.”
Greenan said the budget wasn’t without initiatives.
“There were a few promising initiatives,” he said. “There has been a major focus at the national level and our local chamber through our mentoring initiatives with respect to skills training. There are some smaller items money for mentoring, money for entrepreneurs, funding for older works, that kind of thing that’s positive.”
The chamber president-elect did have some concern over the status of the Canada Jobs Grant Program.
“On the flip side of that, the uncertainty that has been out there with the Canada Jobs Grant Program has not been completely settled yet,” he said. “The federal government is announcing that they’re going to go one road on April 1 if the provinces are not on board. That creates some uncertainty for business as to what Canada Jobs Grants is going to look like and how that may impact our training and bottom line requirements for small businesses.”
Greenan said it’s not unreasonable at this time to see a “hold the course” sort of budget.
“We’re going to wait and see to assess the local impact. There’s nothing earth-shattering here and no one realistically was expecting anything earth-shattering.”
Greenan said he would have like to have seen more information surrounding the 2014 municipal infrastructure grants.
“We started getting a little more info about the Building Canada Plan,” he said. “Certainly, infrastructure investment is something we, and every small community or municipality in the country, needs and wants. Some more detail on that would have been welcomed.”