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Focus on red tape and small business at Cornwall Chamber debate

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By Nick Seebruch
Focus on red tape and small business at Cornwall Chamber debate
Candidates at the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce debate held on Tuesday, October 15 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce held an early morning all-candidates debate on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall.

The Cornwall Chamber pushed the candidates on how they would help businesses, with NDP candidate Kelsey Catherine Schmitz saying that she would focus on supporting social programs such as universal pharmacare and better dental care coverage and explained how that would help small businesses.

“These programs will affect the ever day bottom line especially for small business owners,” she said. “A big part of our platform is to make every individual’s life more affordable so you can invest back in your business.”

Sabile Trimm of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) said that her party would increase that capital cost allowance while cutting the capital gains tax.

For her part, Liberal candidate Heather Megill expressed her concern for indiscriminate cuts.

“I look at the Conservatives and it looks like they are cutting everything,” she said. “They seem to be living in the 1950s and seem to be living with amnesia.”

The Conservative candidate Eric Duncan fired back stating that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister said that some businesses were tax cheats.

Another business issue that the candidates tackled was around bringing more workers to the region.

“Affordable housing is a big issue,” said Megill. “Our region and City have done a great job of attracting businesses, but they can’t find the workers. I don’t know where they are.”

Schmitz pointed out that her parted has plans to build 500,000 affordable housing units if elected, but said that to grow a younger workforce, would require a diversity of work opportunities in the area.

When asked what the biggest issue facing businesses was, Duncan claimed that it was red tape that was holding small business back. He promised that if elected, his party had a commitment to cut two regulations for every new one they implement.

Schmitz disagreed however, stating that cutting rules while cutting infrastructure, as she claimed the Conservatives planned to do, was a bad mix.

“There is one thing of having a lot of regulations that done make sense and another in having regulations that actually help and protect small businesses,” said Schmitz.

Duncan pointed out in response that Akwesasne was mired in red tape on different issues because they straddle multiple provincial and international jurisdictions.

This was the sixth and final debate before the federal election on Oct. 21.

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Jenni MacDonald, Dominion Lending, Cornwall, Ontario