The Minister responsible for the Treasury Board met with small-business owners in Big River today.

Tony Clement sat inside a diner talking to the residents alongside Northern Saskatchewan MP Rob Clarke.

Clement says many of the problems affecting business people are the same across Canada.

Red-tape is at the top of the list along with a shortage of skilled labour.

He says they are particularly acute in rural Canada:

“We had a business owner (in Big River) who has a fleet of trucks and I’ve heard from many different business people how difficult it is to get truck drivers.  We had a restaurant owner who is having difficulty keeping his staff because of other opportunities.”

He adds they want to address these challenges and help the businesses generate wealth and jobs.

Clement says he knows there are a large number of unemployed workers on First Nations reserves and he agrees the status quo is not enough:

“I have seven reserves in my riding and these things are common and that’s why we are changing our approach.”

He says that’s particularly true for training programs on reserve.

After the chat with the residents Clement embarked on a tour of the Big River First Nation to hear from residents there.