PAUL BENT, FOSTERING PRIVATE SECTOR GROWTH TASK FORCE
It is an exciting time to be involved with the Chamber as we unveil our new strategic plan. It has been my pleasure to chair the committee formerly known as Creating a Positive Business Environment for the past two years and to have added my voice to the plan forward for the Chamber and to some of the specific committee initiatives.
We recognize the critical importance of the private sector business community to the success of our local, as well as provincial economy. The continuation of the “promoting private enterprise” mandate was an easy decision. What we wanted to do, however, was to freshen our approach and to a degree, refocus on what we truly believe are the matters of greatest interest to our members. While several of the matters remain the same, taxation being one example, we believe it is time that we approach the issues through a new lens, focusing on the conditions that give rise to concerns, which themselves, may be impediments to business growth. The task force’s new name, Fostering Private Sector Growth, is an initiative under four banners. They are:
- Optimizing the impacts of government
- Building a frictionless business environment
- Supporting the growth of exports of both goods and services
- Promoting and supporting the growth of Halifax as a major Canadian city
The role of both the Chamber and task force in the private-sector growth strategy will involve a mixture of direct initiatives, partnering and advocating as opportunity and resources permit. While taxation remains an important matter for task force attention at both the municipal and provincial level, we intend to change the narrative of our approach, focusing on managing taxation through efficient and strategic spending, as well as consideration of potential new revenue sources other than taxation. We believe through prudent fiscal management, government can have the ability to reduce the burden of taxation. Other aspects of the optimization of governmental impacts include:
- Focus on debt reduction
- Comparability of costs to similar services in the private sector
- Incentives to grow private business
In recent years, both the provincial and municipal governments have recognized that barriers often exist to the seamless flow of commerce. While initiatives currently exist at both levels of government, we believe more needs to be done and we will continue to play a key role, providing input to the process as both a participant and advocate, as well as helping focus the process to issues of greatest impact and positive outcomes.
One need not look far to see the challenges to trade with the recent activities of the United States, our historical largest trading partner. The growth of our economy and success of our business more and more will come from transacting in a global economy. That means looking beyond our traditional domestic borders, as well as north/south trade to get our products and services to market. Working in conjunction with our partners and with government, we will continue to advocate for and to support where we are able to facilitate the growth of an international export economy. The success of Halifax is an integral element of the prosperity of Nova Scotia. Halifax, though of modest size, is a world-class city with abundant natural resources, including our port and geographic location, critically important corporate entities and leading-edge tech companies, as well as a highly educated workforce. One of the most important roles of your Chamber is advocacy on behalf of the city to ensure its needs are considered when setting policies and future growth strategies. With our partners, we will continue this important work in the next phase of our plan.
We are excited about the prospects for our city and for our province and we are pleased to be able to advocate on your behalf. If you are interested in joining our committee or have suggestions for the road ahead or specific initiatives, please contact Kathleen MacEachern at email@example.com.
The Fostering Private Sector Growth task force wanted to start focusing on positive stories from our members. You may be tired of hearing about the same issues or complaints and want to hear about the positive initiatives happening in our community or maybe you want to share your story with our membership. We want to celebrate your success and pass on the positivity bug!
Here are examples of how you can celebrate your business or community success:
- Tweet @halifaxchamber with your story with the hashtag #positivelyhalifax and we will retweet it!
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will add it to our growing list of success stories to share at events, on social media and through discussions with our membership!
Remember to be an agent of positive change and spread the good news you hear!