Community leaders meet with Minister of State Lynne Yelich to discuss their hopes for the upcoming federal budget.

Community leaders meet with Minister of State Lynne Yelich to discuss their hopes for the upcoming federal budget.

Federal minister talks budget with municipal leaders in Prince Rupert

Minister of State for Western Economic Development Lynne Yelich met with local political and business leaders on her trip to Prince Rupert last Wednesday to get their input on what the city wants to have in the next federal budget.

Minister of State for Western Economic Development Lynne Yelich met with local political and business leaders on her trip to Prince Rupert last Wednesday to get their input on what the city wants to have in the next federal budget.

Yelich said she wanted to hear ideas from the community that would improve the economy while not creating new spending programs.

“[I’m here] to see if there are some ideas particularly around the challenges here. Sometimes there are challenges that federal governments don’t always know about; regulations or some of the day-to-day things that can make it very difficult for businesses or economies to thrive,” said Yelich.

While the meeting with the minister was behind closed doors, it does appear that federal government’s support of port expansion in Prince Rupert was at the forefront of the discussions

. Yelich told those gathered at the meeting that she recognized how important the port was to the entire region.  In an interview, Yelich said the biggest concerns raised at the meeting was the region’s ability to take advantage of new importing and exporting opportunities, ways to improve tourism to the entire region, and attracting new people to the region.

“They just want to make sure that we have a vision that started with the Asia-Pacific Gateway,” Yelich said.

“We started that vision, and I’m glad to say that there’ll be a lot more input from this area.”

While political leaders such as the Mayor of Prince Rupert, Jack Mussallem, were present at the meeting, the region’s elected representative to the Federal Government Nathan Cullen was not invited to take part or told about the meeting by Yelich or her staff.

Yelich says that she wanted to hear directly from the community and not from more federal politicians. It should be noted however that a federal Conservative Party candidate was present.

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