If you’ve ever connected with me, you would determine that my passion for Leduc has stemmed from residing here my entire life and operating my business for the last 50 years. I recognize my bias being a small business owner and I had every intention writing on subject matter pertaining to other areas of focus in my platform, however considering recent news, I was compelled to write one more article on how “essential” our local business community is.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that small business “is the backbone of community” but what does this mean? According to LOCO-BC, a non-for-profit organization in BC who conducts Business Community Impact Assessments for communities across Canada, “the local economic impact of small businesses is twice that of multinational competitors, with $63 of every $100 spent at local merchants recirculating back into the community, contrasting the paltry $14 that remains from every $100 spent within large multinational retail locations. As a result, local businesses recirculate 4.6 times more revenue into local economies, multiplying their positive impact on the communities they serve.” I have seen firsthand, as a business owner and founder of a non-profit-foundation, while working with local businesses, the amount of revenue and time that is recirculated back to business and community causes.
So why is this important considering current circumstances? In the last two weeks alone, I’ve spoken with several businesses on the verge of closing who’ve all indicated that small loans would enable them to remain operational. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses estimates that 1-in-5 businesses are likely to close their doors for good due to consequences of the pandemic. Small business employs 69.7% of the country’s private labour force and also “accounts for 97.9% of all businesses operating in the country and contributes toward just under 40% of the Canadian GDP”. Statistics Canada announced “The Canadian economy posted its worst ever performance, registering a 5.4% decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2020, marking the largest recorded decrease since data was first calculated in 1961.”
The reason I've decided to run is not to take a “cut and slash” approach to these capital projects, but to stop and redefine what “essential” is, especially during this pandemic, and how Leduc’s taxpayer’s dollars should be spent. I am concerned that our current council, 12-14 months into this pandemic, just approved more than what was “essential” for the expansion of the Cemetery, purchasing three times the amount of land that was required for $3-million.
They’ve also just approved $250-thousand for fence post upgrades which could have easily been postponed. This upgrade alone is more than double the amount the City has put towards small businesses in light of Covid-19, which also happens to be one of the City’s largest tax bases. As your Mayoral candidate, I believe small business is more valuable than fence posts, not only because of the large tax base they pay, but because of their integral role within our community.