January 17, 2018 6:53 am

Call for bridge funding animates State of City address in Kingston

Federal and provincial politicians high light their governments achievements at Greater Kingston Chamber breakfast meeting

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Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce hosts State of the City address. The mayor, federal and provincial politicians share their visions

Kingston’s business community got up early to listen to politicians at the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City address.

The mayor and Kingston and the Islands federal and provincial politicians took to the stage highlighting their governments’ investments in the region.

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Still, there was no announcement of federal funding for a third bridge crossing, but the mayor says he’s optimistic that good news is coming on that front in the coming months.

That optimism is shared by MP Mark Gerretsen (Lib-Kingston and the Islands). “I won’t let up until we have delivery. We’re going to continue pushing for this, continue fighting to get this funding so that we can see this bridge come to reality.”

Gerretsen was also questioned about the government’s changes to tax laws, specifically the impact on changes to passive income. Gerretsen defended his government’s legislation, saying the government consulted with Canadians and modified the original legislation.

“What we end up with is a lowering of the corporate tax rate to 9 per cent by Jan. 1 of next year, and some other small tweaks with respect to income sprinkling and passive investing,” Gerretsen said.

READ MORE: Federal government’s changes to the Income Tax Act face continued criticism

MPP Sophie Kiwala (Lib-Kingston and the Islands), who is heading into a provincial election this year, spoke about the province’ss low unemployment rate and investment in the community, including $60 million for the third crossing, another $60 million to build new ferries for Wolfe and Amherst islands, along with $500 million in funding for the redevelopment of Kingston General Hospital redevelopment.

“I am very, very excited about that investment. There are some parts of the hospital that are very much in need of renovation,” Kiwala said.

Chamber members also got a sneak peak at the political debate to come. Gary Bennett, Progressive Conservative candidate in the upcoming provincial election, took to the floor and asked Kiwala about the province’s plans to hire over 170 compliance officers. The officers will make sure businesses follow the sweeping changes to employment and labour law brought in by Bill 148.

READ MORE: The effects of Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Bennett said the legislation is another example of excessive bureaucracy. “Most businesses that I know of are honest hard working people and I think for the government to suggest they some how need to hire more inspectors I think is an insult to the business community.”

Ontario residents will have their say on which vision they share when the election is held in June.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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