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Greater Victoria, BC News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
5/8/2013 Published Article
Election Time – Bringing Issues Home

The provincial election process has a tendency to focus on party leaders and very broad policy platforms. With three out of four party leaders representing the Lower Mainland, relying on party debates won’t offer much in terms of local issues for Greater Victorians. To highlight some of our concerns as a community, The Chamber created the Our Vibrant Community Economic Agenda, which is based on Chamber policy.
The Chamber creates policy on an ongoing basis to direct its advocacy efforts when lobbying government. These policies come directly from our members’ concerns as well as from timely local issues that impact our economy and community. We’ve used these policies as focal points to get our local candidates talking about provincial issues that have deep impact on Greater Victoria. From BC Ferries to amalgamation – it is important for Greater Victoria’s voters to know which local issues their candidates support.
In addition to creating the economic agenda, The Chamber is pursuing action on these policies in a number of ways. Later this month, some of the policies on the agenda will be presented to the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce AGM to garner province-wide Chamber support, strengthening their reach. To support province-wide common rates for natural gas, The Chamber is registering as an intervener with the BC Utilities Commission. Last month, The Chamber hosted a presentation by Parks Canada to better understand the full impacts of the proposed National Marine Conservation Area. Once the elections have passed and all ministers are appointed, The Chamber will begin meeting with ministers one-on-one to continue the discussion and promote action for these issues.
The Economic Agenda also has long-term value beyond election day. We’ve sent the Our Vibrant Community Economic Agenda to local candidates as a means to clearly track both our progress – and theirs – in the years following the election. Much like The Chamber’s municipal Our Vibrant Community campaign, which we used as a means to compare municipal leaders’ good governance initiatives following the municipal election in 2011, the Economic Agenda will allow us to revisit these priorities as we move past the election into the long-term. Our goal is to wade past campaign promises, to bring action and effective long-term planning.

The Chamber has focused on an economic agenda as it is an area where we feel we have the engagement, experience and expertise to highlight challenges and opportunities in Greater Victoria. There are a number of other issues impacting the region such as healthcare and the environment, which are best left to the organizations and individuals with expertise on those particular issues.

It is my hope that by creating this agenda and posting candidate responses publicly, voters in Greater Victoria can easily see which issues candidates support before making the big decision on May 14th. The decisions we make at the polls will influence the provincial decisions for years to come, and having a clear way of comparing where each local candidate stands is essential. And it is important to rally everyone to have their say and vote.

Bruce Carter
CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Victoria News

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