As the post-budget parade of federal minister visits to Niagara continued, it was Mary Ng’s turn to highlight parts of the governing Liberal’s budget she says will help business succeed in Niagara.
Ng, the minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development for the federal Liberal party, was in the region on Thursday, April 6. After a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Ravine Vineyards, where she was joined by St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle and Niagara Center MP Vance Badawey, Ng traveled to St. Catharines to visit a few local shops there.
One of the announcements within the budget was a move to reduce the expected increase in the alcohol excise tax, which since 2017 has seen yearly increases tied to inflation. This year, the increase was expected to be a hefty 6.3 per cent, before the Liberals capped it at two per cent.
“With global inflation the way it is we really did listen to the industry and capped it at two per cent,” she said.
While the two per cent cap is only a one-year deal, Ng said they would continue to monitor the situation.
“Inflation is still there. It’s a year, and we’ll assess. I mean, we’ve always taken the approach of listening to industries and Canadians and people and my member of parliament colleagues,” Ng said, adding both Bittle and Badawey were strong advocates for the wine industry.
Beyond the excise tax, Ng touted other budget items she believes will support consumers and businesses alike. Those included a deal with Visa and Mastercard to lower credit card fees by up to 27 per cent and the grocery rebate that will see some households receive a bump in their HST credit to offset rising food prices.
Ng also said investments in growing green industries will benefit communities across the country.
A few federal ministers have visited Niagara since the budget was released, including Minister of Labor Seamus O’Regan and Defense Minister Anita Anand.