Federal Minister of Industry James Moore speaks to Cranbrook chamber
There are positives in the Canadian economy but inter-provincial trade barriers need to come down, industry minister says
Canadian Minister of Industry James Moore was the keynote speaker at a recent Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting, during which he touched on several economic issues at both federal and provincial levels.
Moore, who is originally from Port Moody, B.C., and first entered politics at the age of 24, said the Canadian economy is doing quite well.
Citing U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as his source, he said Canadian middle-class incomes are now higher than in the U.S., while at the same time Canadians work fewer hours than do their American counterparts.
However, he did add that "complacency is a recipe for economic suicide."
Moore said connectivity is vital to moving forward. In the old days, connectivity might have referred to railroads, ferries and such. Today, Moore would like to see all Canadians connected digitally, especially rural and remote communities.
Moore said Canada is also doing well in the global arena of free trade. He said Canada has free trade agreements with 43 countries, and Canada alone—of the G7 countries—has a balanced budget.
But he said that improvements could be made provincially, citing inter-provincial trade barriers as a major problem in Canada.
"Within Canada, a European has more access to the Canadian economy than a Canadian has to the Canadian economy," he said, due to these trade barriers between provinces. For example, he said, a young Cranbrook, B.C., entrepreneur would have a hard time starting up a new business in Alberta, no matter how good his idea is.
Another example: B.C. wines cannot be sold in Alberta, but are readily available in places like Tacoma, Washington.
"The provinces and territories should not be economic islands," Moore said.