The federal government’s Fall Economic Statement drew some mixed responses in Langley, with criticism from a local Conservative MP, but praise on one item from the local business community.
The Fall Economic Statement is also known as a “mini-budget,” and this one included tax credits for renewable power and electric industrial vehicles, infrastructure spending, and a tax on corporate stock buybacks.
Tako Van Popta, Conservative MP for the Langley-Aldergrove riding, was critical of the statement released by the Liberal government’s Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland.
“Bottom line: the national debt is going up, inflation is at a 40-year high, and interest rates are going in the wrong direction,” said Van Popta’s statement.
He pointed to the impact inflation is having on Canadians, with an increase in the use of food banks.
“This government needs to eliminate waste, cut their reckless spending, and start putting the taxpayers first,” Van Popta said.
Cloverdale-Langley’s Liberal MP John Aldag defended his government’s mini-budget.
“Canada’s economy is now 102.6 per cent the size it was before the pandemic,” Aldag said in a statement. “We are making life more affordable by permanently eliminating interest on federal student and apprentice loans and by lowering credit card transaction fees for small businesses.”
He also pointed to skills training programs that aim to help young people get good jobs.
One item in the Fall Economic Statement got the attention of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.
That was the commitment to lowering credit card processing fees for small businesses.
When customers use credit cards, the card company charges the business a fee of between 1.4 and 3 per cent of the price of the sale, noted Cory Redekop, CEO of the chamber.
“Small businesses are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars every month just in fees to accept credit cards from their customers, and it is about time they see action to bring down those sky-high fees,” he said. “These fees add a real cost to merchants, and with more consumers moving away from cash this burden is becoming unaffordable for local small businesses.”
The federal government has announced it will enter negotiations with the credit card industry to lower transaction costs, and could take action to regulate the industry if no consensus is reached.
“Many small businesses are still digging out from the negative impacts of the pandemic, and with a possible recession on the horizon, quick action to reduce credit card transaction fees would be a welcome help for local businesses,” added Redekop.
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