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Masthead – Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty jokes with the audience at the Pomeroy Hotel on Thursday night – Christine Rumleskie/

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty made an appearance at the Petroleum Association’s 50th Anniversary dinner on Thursday night.

Prince George – Peace River MP Jay Hill and Flaherty celebrated with the members as they kicked off their weekend celebrations with a banquet at the Pomeroy Hotel.

It wasn’t all economic talk with Flaherty; he kicked the night off with a few jokes and talked about his 18 year-old triplets back home.

When he did talk about the economy, however, he reminded the municipal leaders in attendance that the federal government will continue spending money on infrastructure projects across the country.

He says municipalities have until March 2011 to take advantage of the federal government’s “use it or lose it” funding.

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He says the government has no plans to stop funding infrastructure projects, which he promises will create jobs and slowly bring Canada out of the recession.

Meanwhile, natural gas prices have been sitting just under three dollars for the past couple of weeks now. To encourage more drilling in the area, prices would have to rise significantly, which hasn’t happened since around January of last year.

Flaherty says prices should start increasing as the economies of other countries begin to grow. He says the economy’s of emerging countries like China, Brazil, Russia and India are doing just that.

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Flaherty says on Friday he’s off to tour the Peace Region, with a pit stop for a round of golf.

 Below is a video of Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty joking with audience members before getting down to business.

Photo: Prince George – Peace River MP Jay Hill (right) walks off stage after introducing Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to the crowd – Christine Rumleskie/

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