Whether it’s the leader of the official opposition trying to undermine our government’s demonstrated support for our community, or a personal attack ad promoted by an adjacent Conservative riding association, nothing can dampen the optimism and energy here in the Okanagan.
This confrontational style of politics attempts to generate anger and frustration, create division and divert attention away from positive news, most notably a strong economy.
Canada is back to work; unemployment in Canada remains at historic lows and Canada’s economy still leads the G7 in economic growth while posting the lowest debt to GDP ratio. The government’s decision to invest in Canadians is paying off.
A case in point isthe federal government’s long-term infrastructure plan. In total, it makes over $180 billion available to support local, provincial, and territorial infrastructure projects over 12 years.
In fact, it is through infrastructure funding that our government last week announced support for the Rails to Trails initiative. Local communities have long called on the federal government to contribute and I was pleased that our government was willing to support this initiative which will be a solid economic generator for communities up and down the Okanagan valley.
Federal infrastructure funding is supporting public transit projects, green infrastructure projects, much-needed social infrastructure including affordable housing, trade and transportation projects, and projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity.
As another local example, our community has benefitted from water and wastewater funding to supporting critical upgrades to the SEKID/SOMID water supply system and the Eldorado Treated Water Reservoir & Glenmore Booster Station in Lake Country.
The official opposition’s confrontational style politics tries to suggest our government’s investments in Canada and Canadians is squandering taxpayers’ dollars. The reality is investments in roads, water, and housing support communities, increase opportunities and strengthen local and regional economies.
Not investing in infrastructure hurts everyone. Take for example the recent case of the bridge closures in the state of Mississippi – years and years of ignoring necessary infrastructure improvements recently forced authorities to close 102 failing bridges over multiple counties putting additional stress on local economies.
Here at home we see the value in addressing deficiencies in a timely way improving the quality of life for citizens while supporting business.
Additional investment in research and development and science are also key government priorities as we ensure we are prepared for the digital economy, artificial intelligence and automation.
Solving our immediate social and economic challenges, while positioning Canada for the 21stcentury world, is not an easy task for any government.
Misinformation, fear and divisiveness all undermine our desire for a better future. It will take vision, drive and investment to ensure we are positioned for success. We are on the right track.
Stephen Fuhr is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country