Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, Harjit Sajjan, speaks at the Kelowna Innovation Centre, Apr, 11, 2022 (Capital News/Gary Barnes)

Minister Sajjan stops in Kelowna to talk federal budget highlights

The minister also talked about climate change and moving to a green economy

International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan made a surprise stop in Kelowna on the morning of April 11 to go over highlights of Budget 2022, which was brought down by the federal government on April 7.

“We, as the government, obviously it was important for us to go out across the country and explain to Canadians as best as possible, whether it’s here, in smaller communities, or the bigger urban areas, it makes no difference, we want to make sure we get the information out and be able to answer questions for Canadians,” he said.

During a speech at the Innovation Centre, Sajjan talked about the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the global climate crisis.

“Here at home we have seen we are not immune to this,” said Sajjan. “From the flooding to the wildfires that impacted our friends and neighbours right here in the Okanagan.”

The minister added that Canada has been a leader in the green revolution around the world, with British Columbia and Kelowna as partners.

“Here at the Kelowna Innovation Centre you have the best and brightest from around the region looking at how they can solve the most pressing business questions of today. We have to continue to spur this innovation across the province and our country.”

Investing $15 billion in the Canadian Growth Fund and working with private industry, exports can be increased, encourage the growth of low carbon industries and develop new technologies, added Sajjan.

He also said facing climate change is not something the government can do on its own.

“It’s going to take investment from the public and the private sector. In fact, on the fight against climate change alone, building a net-zero economy by 2050 Canada will need between $125 billion and $140 billion of investment every year over that period.”

Sajjan said despite the push to move to a green economy, British Columbians will have to cope with a changing world, including the possibility of more wildfires.

“That’s why Budget 2022 is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to support the train of new firefighters, buying of new firefighting equipment and the incorporation of traditional, indigenous knowledge into our firefighting management system.”

Sajjan admitted the federal government’s plan to fight climate change is ambitious.

“You also need a realistic plan to move forward,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is say we want to achieve something and not have a plan that can actually get you there. Minister Guilbeault, who has tremendous experience and background in fighting climate change, is now building out a plan. Not only here for Canada, but also we’re going to be looking internationally as well.”

Read More: Budget 2022: Liberals rejig $15B toward new business investment fund

Read More: Budget 2022: Liberals devote $4.3 billion to Indigenous housing needs


@GaryBarnes109
gary.barnes@kelownacapnews.com

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budgetCanadaCity of KelownaClimate changeClimate crisisfederal budgetfederal governmentKelowna