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Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Blair Lekstrom says the Provincial budget will protect vital services throughout the north.

Speaking on Issues and Answers on Wednesday morning, Lekstrom talked about the economy and the local impacts of the Harmonized Sales Tax.

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The budget also contained a glimpse of the HST, which will be introduced in July of next year.

Lekstrom says BC is the sixth jurisdiction in Canada that will implement the blended tax, and he anticipates the other jurisdictions will get on board in the near future.

He also says it’s going to make the Peace Region more attractive to companies.

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Lekstrom says while some items will have a higher cost because of the blended tax, he doesn’t think northern residents will take their money to Alberta more so than usual.

Meanwhile, he says the local economy is doing better than most, because of the Peace Region’s diversified economy like forestry, mining, agriculture and the oil and gas industry.

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