Budget 2009: An Economic Action Plan for Northern BC

OTTAWA ? Budget 2009, tabled today by the Conservative Government, has generated new hope for communities and families throughout Northern British Columbia, particularly those dependent on the forest sector, said Jay Hill, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

?We?ve already taken unprecedented action to meet unprecedented global challenges. Today, our economic action plan ensures we will emerge even stronger as the world economy recovers,? said Hill. ?This plan will stimulate the economy, protect jobs today and create jobs tomorrow.?

Hill added that many of the federal budget?s initiatives specifically answered the call of local communities, workers and businesses in northern BC. These include:

A new $1-billion Community Adjustment Fund to help resource-dependent communities to restructure and diversify their economies.

$500-million in new funding for the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund to accelerate the construction of projects in smaller communities.

$170-million to help forest companies develop new products and processes and take action on new opportunities in the international market place.

The extension of the Employment Insurance (EI) Work Sharing Program by 14 weeks to help more employers avoid layoffs while the industry recovers.

The extension of EI benefits by an extra five weeks to help laid off workers transition to new jobs.

$1-billion in additional EI training programs and $500-million to extend EI benefits for workers who?ve spent years working in one industry or for one employer and require longer term training.

$500-million in EI-financed training for those who do not qualify for EI, such as the self-employed.

$2-billion for maintenance and repair projects at post-secondary institutions, including the College of New Caledonia.

A new home renovation tax credit and an increase in the Home Buyers? Plan limit, spurring housing construction and creating more demand for forest products.

An increase in the basic personal exemption to $10,320, and, in order to assist seniors on fixed incomes, another $1,000 increase in the Age credit.

$5-billion for the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Export Development Corporation to provide additional loans and other forms of credit support to businesses.

$225-million to expand broadband coverage to unserved communities.

$50-million to expand slaughterhouse capacity.

Hill credited the efforts of local community leaders and business owners who effectively communicated the needs of northern BC. ?We consulted, we listened and we acted.?