In renewing her cabinet, Premier Christy Clark has directed her ministers to stay focused on jobs and fiscal discipline and to continue with efforts to make life more affordable for BC families. A strong vision of where this province needs to head and what it takes to remain prosperous in a tough, uncertain and challenging world.
And when it comes to understanding the importance of jobs and fiscal discipline, and providing for one’s family, there is no sector that understands it better than BC’s small business sector which employs over 85% of BC’s private sector work force and generates 34 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Considering the fact that 98 percent of businesses in BC are small or medium sized, the post of Minister of State for Small Business in Clark’s cabinet is a crucial one. And I believe North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Naomi Yamamoto is an excellent fit for this cabinet post given her chamber of commerce and small business background which speaks for itself.
But she definitely has her work cut out for her when it comes to the addressing the issues that small businesses have with local governments.
Small business operators have long felt disenfranchised from local government on issues that affect them deeply, including bylaws, user fees, permits, licensing, land use, and general customer service. However, municipal property taxes are perhaps the biggest issue of concern for BC’s small businesses — a major road block to small business investment and the ability of small businesses to hire more British Columbians.
Hopefully, Minister Yamamoto can get local and municipal governments on board with fiscal discipline and making life more affordable for BC families. More than anything else, this is what small businesses in this province want to see. However, I am fully confident, given Minister Yamamoto’s small business background, that she totally gets all of this and I know that she will be a strong voice for small business at the cabinet table and around the province.