Poll

Chamber needs to know: should businesses have a vote in local elections?

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
August 4th, 2010

 The Castlegar & District Chamber of Commerce is asking for community input as they decide whether to join a lobby calling for businesses to once again have a vote in municipal elections.

Chamber executive director Pam McLeod said not all chambers are on board with the campaign, and to properly represent local business, she needs to know where local sentiment lies.   “I need direction; I need to know what our membership wants,” she said. “The B.C. Chamber of Commerce is very much in favour of restoring the business vote.”   She said a proposal has been jointly put forward by the B.C. Business Council and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), and the issue will come to a vote at the UBCM (Union of B.C. Municipalities) conference this autumn.   “We need to be meeting with city council and our MLA if we’re going to support this – so we need to know where our members stand on the issue,” she said. To provide input, vote on The Source’s poll (click here), call the chamber at 250-365-6313 or email McLeod at pam.mcleod@shawbiz.ca   She said the arguments the B.C. Chamber is making in favour of re-instating a business vote include the issue of taxation without representation, in which businesses are, proportionately, heavily taxed but have no say in choosing the community leaders who will be responsible for setting tax rates. (The CFIB’s full argument can be found here).   A local government elections task force recommended, earlier this year, not to reinstate the business vote. Their report can be found here.   McLeod said there appear to be cogent arguments on either side of the debate, and what she needs now is to find out where locals land on the issue, since it’s shaping up to be one of the more hotly-contested ones at this year’s UBCM, and the end result may end up altering the local political landscape.   Please feel free to add your comments in the designated space below. 

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