NORTH BATTLEFORD - The Battlefords and District Chamber of Commerce is set to hold another of their annual Post-Budget events next week.
However, a notable speaker is conspicuously absent: Donna Harpauer, the Minister of Finance.
Instead of the annual Post-Budget breakfasts or, in more recent years, Post-Budget luncheons that are held with the Finance Minister as guest speaker, this time the Battlefords Chamber of Commerce is planning a Post-Budget “Chamber on Tap” event titled “the Northwest Perspective,” on March 30.
The intention is for three area MLAs — Battlefords MLA and Minister of Highways Jeremy Cockrill, Cut Knife-Turtleford MLA Ryan Domotor, and Meadow Lake MLA and Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison — to speak, although the Chamber has noted Harrison’s attendance has not yet been confirmed.
The event is set for 5 to 7 p.m. on March 30 at Discovery Co-operative Cafe, 9800 Territorial Drive, North Battleford.
Last year marked the resumption of the Post-Budget lunches with Finance Minister Harpauer following the pandemic restrictions, but her appearance ran into controversy when news broke that Harpauer had chartered a plane at an estimated cost of around $8,000 to attend the event. Harpauer later defended the expense by saying she would not drive while exhausted.
It is not clear why the Battlefords Chamber was unable to book Harpauer, or whether there are plans for her to perhaps appear at a later date. But it is known the finance minister has other post-budget speaking commitments lined up around the same time as the Battlefords event next week.
According to the province, Harpauer is scheduled to appear March 30 at a post-budget event before the Regina Chamber of Commerce at the Double Tree by Hilton, followed by a post-budget event in Saskatoon on March 31 before the North Saskatoon Business Association. Both are noon hour events.