British Columbia Chamber of Commerce
November 2013  
BC Chamber Policy News

Analysis: B.C. needs privatized liquor distribution, grocery store beer and wine
While B.C. has made recent strides to reform its antiquated liquor industry, more overhaul is needed.


“To take our liquor industry into the 21st century, B.C.’s government needs to pull out of the liquor business,” said John Winter, BC Chamber president and CEO.


“The private sector is willing and able to take over these functions, root out inefficiencies, and build a more competitive system that better serves both consumers and private-sector liquor retailers.”


The BC Chamber raised these points in a recent submission to the B.C. government’s Liquor Policy Review process. The BC Chamber has also backed beer and wine sales in grocery stores.


“It’s great to see momentum on this file – now let’s push forward and get the job done, ” Winter said.

In This Issue
Analysis: Liquor Reform
Business Vote
Deputies Event
Pipeline Framework
Job Grant
EU Trade Deal
Small Business
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BC Chamber calls for return of business vote
As the provincial government takes a hard look at local government elections reform, the BC Chamber is calling for B.C. to bring back the business note.


The BC Chamber and various local Chambers in B.C. have contributed submissions to the government’s white paper process calling for the return of the business vote.


“Without a business vote, B.C.’s local politicians aren’t accountable to the small businesses that pay a heavy proportion of local property taxes,” said John Winter, BC Chamber president and CEO. “If B.C. truly believes in the principle of ‘No taxation without representation,’ we’ve got to fix this.”


A BC Chamber policy calling for the re-instatement of the corporate vote has been backed by local Chambers and 36,000 represented businesses in B.C.

Chamber’s Deputy Ministers event boosts business-government dialogue
In a move to boost dialogue between B.C.’s business and community leaders and the action drivers of the B.C. government, the BC Chamber recently hosted its inaugural Evening with B.C.’s Deputy Ministers October 24 in Victoria.


“We were delighted to see great dialogue and the exchange of insightful ideas,” said John Winter, BC Chamber president and CEO, of the event, which has received rave reviews.


“It was truly a privilege to host such an impressive group of B.C. leaders, all looking for ways to take B.C. forward.”

 Pipeline framework sets stage for B.C. gains, project momentum
The BC Chamber has welcomed a new B.C.-Alberta framework agreement on energy movement as a great win for B.C.’s economy and key pipeline projects.


“This pivotal agreement creates a foundation for economic growth in the resource-based economies of B.C. and Alberta,” said John Winter, BC Chamber president and CEO.


The framework agrees to Premier Clark’s five conditions for heavy-oil pipelines, while B.C.’s government has agreed to endorse Premier Redford’s Canadian Energy Strategy.


“With tight budgets everywhere, this framework sets a foundation for new resource revenues for B.C. that can fund healthcare, education and social programs for all British Columbians,” Winter said.


Read the BC Chamber’s news release.

BC Chamber advocating for small businesses’ needs in Job Grant talks
The BC Chamber is continuing to engage actively in discussions of the federal government’s Canada Job Grant, to ensure that B.C.’s training needs are understood and met.


Prior to the recent federal-provincial labour market talks, the BC Chamber called on leaders to look for win-win solutions and to take a flexible attitude to the implementation of the Grant.


The BC Chamber will continue to engage on this critical file for B.C.’s employers and the province’s economic future.

BC Chamber welcomes EU trade deal, calls for Asia-Pacific deal
The BC Chamber of Commerce has congratulated the government of Canada for achieving a highly-anticipated trade deal with the European Union, and is urging the federal government to turn its energies to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“A trade deal with the European Union slashes trade barriers and opens strong new opportunities for B.C. businesses to grow their exports to European markets,” said John Winter, BC Chamber president and CEO.
With the EU trade deal achieved, Winter encouraged the federal government to use this deal as a much-needed stepping stone to the TPP and achieving an Asia Pacific trade pact.


“Let’s not forget that if an EU trade deal is the appetizer, an Asia Pacific deal is the main meal,” he said.


Winter urged the federal government to leverage the momentum and credibility achieved through the successful Canada-EU deal to push TPP talks forward.


“Right now, Canada is riding high and has just modeled what it takes to get a comprehensive, 21st-Century trade deal done,” Winter said. “Now is the time for us to step up and throw our weight behind the TPP talks – because we simply have so much to gain.”

BC Chamber urges municipalities to tangibly support small businesses
In honour of B.C.’s recent Small Business Week, the BC Chamber has challenged municipalities to support their local small businesses through spending discipline, low business tax multipliers, and business-friendly policies.


“It’s easy to pay lip service to supporting small businesses, but what this sector really needs is some tangible relief from its tax and administrative burden,” said John Winter, BC Chamber president and CEO.


“For Small Business Week and beyond, we’d urge municipalities to show their support for small businesses in ways that count: through spending restraint, low business tax multipliers and by adopting policies that encourage economic growth.”