Peter MacKay consults with local business leaders

Amy MacKenzie
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Peter MacKay sits down with local business leaders to hear what they want to see in the federal government’s budget. AMY MACKENZIE – THE NEWS

STELLARTON – Pictou County’s business titans sat down with Central Nova MP Peter MacKay Friday to discuss what they want to see in the federal government’s budget.

Business leaders who attended the forum at NSCC Pictou Campus came from companies such as Sobeys, Velsoft, MacGregor Custom Machining, WearWell Garments, NSCC, Michelin and the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s very much about direct input from the business community, those who are operating locally, that have very important insights on what works and doesn’t work,” MacKay said. “We’re in a pre-budget consultation phase and looking for the type of direct input that allows us to make good policy decisions on what programs and legislation and investments the federal government should be bringing forward.”

MacKay said he showed up at the forum looking for what issues the business leaders want to see resolved and wasn’t disappointed.

“They are very frank and very forceful in making their points and I appreciate that. I think given the fragility and volatility of the economy right now, we need that kind of direct input,” he said. “We need practical ideas and frankly constructive criticisms as well.”

MacKay said the business leaders in Pictou County want to see incentives for businesses to expand and hire more employees and things that help business productivity.

“Stirling MacLean (president of WearWell Garments) was part of the national red tape reduction committee. So, we did hear a lot of concern over duplication – that is federal, provincial, municipal governments doing the same thing where perhaps one government could take responsibility for it, especially around things like the environmental approval system,” MacKay said. “We heard a level of frustration sometimes about the complexity of getting things done.”

MacKay said the business leaders also expressed an interest in natural gas, that they wanted lower taxes and reduction in energy costs.

“The big thing is keeping people in our province,” he said. “Our number-one natural resource is people – educated, motivated people who want to work and be productive. We’re still losing far too many to the West and to other parts of the world.”

MacKay said this would not be the last time he consults business leaders in Pictou County before the budget is finalized and he said his offices are looking for input from other businesses and citizens as well.

“I intend to do more of this around the province and locally,” he said. “We have a very open dialogue that’s been ongoing. We have three offices in the constituency that hear year-round from businesses and individuals about their views of the federal government.”

MacKay said people can also go online to submit their views to him.

Organizations: Sobeys, Pictou County Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Pictou County

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  • hahah
    January 12, 2013 - 21:33

    These just look like the same guys who got money from ACOA...the rich get richer and the rest of us make it happen.

  • Johnny smoke
    January 12, 2013 - 07:54

    Well well would I ever like to be a fly on the wall in that room. Peter Mackay who represents the most inefficient and backward system on the planet wants to advise private companies who live or die by being just the opposite ,on what they want to see added or deleted in the mountain of red tape put there of course to aid business and not for the purpose of employing thousands of public service pencil pushers and rubber stamp experts.. No my friend do not be fooled, the code word here is "Money" and while the movers and the shakers can sit down with the county prince the rest of us will just have to be content with the crumbs that may or may not fall from the table. Remember income tax time is fast approaching, when is the first or last time you were consulted upon what you would like to see changed. Well do not waste your time waiting, after all life is precious and limited, do not waste it on things that are impossible to be had.

  • DP Racing
    January 11, 2013 - 19:12

    Peter MacKay is part of the problem considering his government and the Conservatives have been in charge of the Province and the Federal Government for over a decade or more.