VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is urging the federal and provincial governments to do the right thing and rally behind distillers who have done their part in the fight against Covid-19.
In letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan, as well as their respective finance ministers, the Chamber calls for distilleries to be acknowledged for the enormous contribution they have made producing sanitizer.
“Sanitizer was in significant demand, and, in most cases, distillers provided it for free to those on the frontlines of the pandemic – health care professionals, medical outreach workers, educators, care home workers and postal and retail staff. In the case of Okanagan Spirits, it has donated about $500,000 in sanitizer, a significant contribution for a local business,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.
“Distillers answered the call from government to do what they could to support Canadians during this unprecedented crisis.”
The Greater Vernon Chamber is extremely disappointed to learn that the federal government paid $375 million to offshore sources for sanitizer.
“Very little of this money would have directly benefitted communities such as Vernon,” said Kempton.
“As the federal government proceeds with providing Canadians with additional health and safety resources and as the nation moves towards economic recovery, we would request that future contracts for sanitizer be directed towards domestic producers and particularly craft distilleries across Canada. These distilleries create significant direct employment, but they also support local suppliers and farmers.”
Ottawa is also being asked to cover the base cost of sanitizer production by craft distilleries, while the Chamber is requesting the BC government to cover the base cost of sanitizer production by distilleries and to consider BC distillers when issuing contracts for sanitizer.
“At a time when local economies have been rocked by the pandemic, we must take steps to support our home-grown entrepreneurs,” said Kempton.
Krystin Kempton is president of the Greater Vernon Chamber.