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Breakfast with a side of politics at annual legislators event

Local NewsBreakfast with a side of politics at annual legislators event

Canada’s cost of living was just one of the topics discussed during the Brantford-Brant Chamber of Commerce’s 15th Annual MP and MPP Breakfast in Brantford on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Paul Bisanti, President of the Chamber of Commerce and event moderator, welcomed the 185 registered guests to the event and introduced members of the Chambers of Commerce, past presidents, council members of the City and County, as well as Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis and the County of Brant Mayor, David Bailey.

After the plated breakfast, the program began by Bisanti acknowledging the three local post-secondary institutions who sponsored the event. One by one, each representative provided updates and accomplishments that their schools have worked towards as they strive to help with workforce needs within the community.

Attendees mingled at their tables during the MP and MPP Breakfast on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Tony Araujo, (BCC past President) Interim Senior Executive Officer and Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Campus Operations and Risk Management at Wilfrid Laurier spoke on behalf of the University.

Goranka Vukleich, Executive Dean of Community Services at Conestoga College represented the college, and Linda Parker, the Senior Advisor of the President’s Office at Six Nations Polytechnic represented the Haudenosaunee-governed Indigenous institute.

Chambers of Commerce President Paul Pisanti thanks the sponsors and attendees for the great turnout during the MP and MPP Breakfast held on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Bisanti thanked the institutions for their hard work and acknowledged the importance of having their partnership in the community.

“I think you would all join in with me in acknowledging that a thriving business community only thrives when its educational institutes are also thriving,” he said. “What we heard today is incredibly encouraging for the future enrichment of our business community by the people who are growing the professional and personal skills that are institutional.”

Next, Bisanti asked Brantford-Brant Conservative MP Larry Brock and his provincial counterpart, Will Bouma, about several hot issues including the country’s cost of living, climate change, housing shortages, transportation and agriculture.

Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma and Brantford-Brant Chambers of Commerce President Paul Pisanti shake hands after the question portion of the MP and MPP Breakfast on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Brock noted the current federal government’s partial responsibility in the current inflationary pressures and acknowledged that increasing utility costs, the carbon tax and rising interest rates are contributing to the issue at hand.

“It is clear that we have an affordability crisis from coast to coast,” said Brock. “People are literally crying out to me asking for help, families are struggling to cover the costs of day-to-day expenses, making decisions between feeding the family and clothing their family.”

Bouma made note that while the provincial government can’t do much about the inflationary pressure, it can work to turn the economy around.

“We can provide our youth with the education and opportunities that they have – that they need -right from grade school through high school,” he said. “We need education, we need the workers, we need to provide opportunities for businesses, and we need that tax revenue that flows from those things so that we can to continue the programs that the people of Ontario need in tough times.”

Both politicians acknowledged that climate change is real and that there needs to be work done to help keep the world liveable for future generations.

Bouma noted the provincial governments flood strategy for the entire province of Ontario, building SMR’s (small modular reactors) and the new battery storage unit that was recently announced.

Brantford-Brant MP Larry Brock and Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma address housing availability with Brantford-Brant Chambers of Commerce President Paul Pisanti at the MP and MPP Breakfast on Friday, March 3, 2023.

On a different topic, the two noted that in regard to housing policies, no one level of government can provide an easy fix and that the governments need to work to find creative solutions.

“We all have to work together tough balance to address availability and affordability,” said Bouma.

He noted that the province built 100,000 new units in 2022, but it wasn’t enough and that the province would need to build roughly 152,000 new dwelling units a year to keep up.

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