By Stan Ashbee
Alberta Newspaper Group
Even though this year’s National Small Business Week was held Oct. 14-20, Canadians can celebrate small business and medium-sized businesses in their communities, each and every day. Last week, Canadians recognized and celebrated the outstanding contribution of the country’s unsung heroes — local entrepreneurs.
Small business is essential, noted United Conservative Party MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat Drew Barnes — who is also an entrepreneur, rancher and the shadow minister of finance.
“Essential to provide jobs, create wealth, and provide choice and competition for Albertans. It is especially important in rural Alberta,” he said.
Rural Alberta, Barnes added, is lacking the transportation and infrastructure dollars larger centres attract and is dependent on small business people to utilize a strong work ethic and competitive advantages.
According to Barnes, small business is especially important to ensure Albertans have wealth and job creation. “The lowest tax burden is best achieved when there is a large broad base of wealth and income creation.
Alberta, he said, needs to once again have the leadership and policy to ensure Alberta is a free enterprise leader in Canada. “Canada needs to ensure all Canadians have opportunity.”
Barnes said Alberta has been handcuffed by political decisions that have not led to market access for many of the province’s oil, gas and agricultural products.
“Extra layers of burden have been added like carbon tax, costly bureaucracy and rushed minimum wage hikes. Alberta needs leadership that will show the world we are the free enterprise spot to be and policies that allow wealth, income and jobs to flourish,” he said.
Barnes added the UCP’s plan is to eliminate the carbon tax, reduce the burden of too many regulations by at least a third, restore Alberta’s competitive tax position and create an atmosphere for free enterprise to flourish. “This is especially important in rural Alberta because of infrastructure challenges, like not enough access to pipelines or rail and because of our commodity-based wealth creation.”
Communities, Barnes said, can help small business by ensuring taxes and fees are competitive and value-based and permitting processes are quick and fair. “Albertans can help by supporting local businesses whenever and wherever that support has been earned.”