Lower taxes, more jobs and a renewed focus on Canada’s history were all topics up for discussion as the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural luncheon meeting with Canada’s Heritage minster as the special guest speaker.
James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and Minister Responsible for British Columbia, spoke to more than 50 people at the Lake Country Chamber on Wednesday afternoon on a variety of topics as part of a tour of B.C. communities.
“We are going out as a government and getting feedback on the road ahead,” said Moore. “The House is back in session (this) week and I have been traveling the province talking about where we are going as a government.”
Moore spent some time going over the federal government’s job creation plans and updating the status of the economy, calling Canada’s economy among the best when compared to other G-7 countries.
He said the Conservative government’s plan includes tax breaks that will allow businesses to thrive, instead of relying on government spending.
“As elected officials at all levels of government, we cannot spend all our time coming up with ways to spend more of the taxpayers money,” he said. “What we need to do is spend more time creating policies that will create wealth. It’s easy to come up with ideas on how to spend money but what we need from politicians and the private sector is creative ideas on how to create wealth for people and for business.”
Moore spoke at length about a project he has taken under his wing as Heritage Minister to breathe new life into Canada’s museums and a new Canadian Museum of History.
He called the teaching of history in Canada pathetic.
“Out of the 13 provinces and territories in Canada only in four of them is it mandatory to take a history class for graduation,” he said. “It’s pathetic what constitutes the teaching of history in B.C. Tragically for a generation now we have ignored our history and we have an entire generation of Canadians that are largely illiterate about Canada’s history.”
That’s why, according to Moore, the conservative government decided to spend $25 million to promote the teaching and researching of Canadian history.
Part of the plan will see the Canadian Museum of History sharing artifacts and displays with local museums so smaller areas of the country such as Lake Country can take in national displays that for now, are buried in the archives of the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa.
“All of these stories, they just sit in the archives in Ottawa,” he said. “The history of the railway, of aboriginal people, the discovery of Canada, Confederation, all these brilliant stories about Canadian history that most people have never heard of.”
He said under the plan local museums can have exhibits shipped to their museums and the federal government would pay the insurance costs for shipping them.
Moore’s appearance at the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce was a first for the small chamber, which normally holds after hours networking meetings, but stepped up for a larger event when Moore wasn’t able to be scheduled at the much larger Kelwona Chamber.
Local politicians from Lake Country, Kelowna as well as some other surrounding areas were in attendance as were several business owners from the Central Okanagan.
“This was huge for us and it went really well,” said Marvin Farkas, Lake Country Chamber of Commerce president. “We were well over our target for attendance. It generated a lot of interest. We’d like to do more of these events where we can bring in in someone special that is a benefit to Lake Country but also to Kelowna and the surrounding area.”