November 4, 1985 (33rd Parliament, 1st Session)


Ross Belsher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross Belsher (Fraser Valley East):

Mr. Speaker, since coming to office one year ago the Progressive Conservative Government has initiated new programs and improved existing ones that directly benefit British Columbia. These include the over-all umbrella ERDA, a $525 million funding agreement for economic development, between the federal Government and the Province of British Columbia.
The five-year agreement will provide joint funding for initiatives in forestry, industrial development, tourism, agriculture, and mineral exploration. Over the term of the agreement it is expected that 15,000 person years of employment will be generated in forest management. A full-time federal forestry Minister was appointed in response to concerns expressed by British Columbia, which is by far the largest producer of forestry products in Canada.
The Government is actively involved in negotiations with the United States to head off U.S. tariffs on Canadian products.
The latest figures from Statistics Canada prove that the Government is doing a good job for B.C. The Retail sales in B.C. this August were up 11 per cent compared to August of last year. The unemployment rate in B.C. has fallen from 15 per cent to 13 per cent. There are 23,000 more jobs in B.C. since September of 1984. Business bankruptcies in B.C. in the first nine months of this year were down 16 per cent relative to the same time last year. British Columbia exports in the first half of 1985 are up by 8.3 per cent. Mr. Speaker, these are positive steps, but there is still more to be done.

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