With a provincial election quickly approaching in September, I have a request of all New Brunswickers: get informed and vote. Parties and candidates will be out in full force to tell their stories - take advantage of every opportunity. I encourage all New Brunswickers to keep in mind that whichever party end up being elected works for us - all of us. They serve New Brunswick as long as enough of us think they are doing a good enough job and let’s remember, they only have our money to spend.
If you can’t find a candidate to talk to personally, I have two suggestions: (1) seek them out on social media to engage; or (2) take advantage of the efforts of groups like our chamber of commerce. Many groups throughout the province are planning to host candidates at various events leading up to the election - I encourage all New Brunswickers to take in as many as possible.
The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has three primary activities planned for 2018 and invite the community to engage with our activities and positions throughout the campaign.
First, on 19 March 2018, representatives from the New Brunswick business community launched a collaborative pre-election platform, “We Choose Growth.” The groups involved are the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, Conseil économique du Nouveau Brunswick, New Brunswick Business Council, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, and the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce.
The group came together in the summer of 2017 to develop solutions to the declining state of the economy and we are united in the belief that the role of government is not to create jobs, but to create a climate which attracts business investment to the province and encourages existing business to invest and grow here in the province. Our alliance has put forward five priority areas that will produce a more favourable business environment and create jobs - the economic growth realized then paying for the services that New Brunswickers expect and deserve.
It is our goal that all political parties will include these priority areas in their platform document and as part of their verbal commitments. These are:
- A private-sector-driven economy
- Responsible resource development
- Improved export performance
- Labour force development
- Responsible financial management
Second, we are hosting a political party leader series in May and June of this year, hosting each of the leaders from New Brunswick’s six registered political parties. We have one leader scheduled to speak per week beginning May 18, taking questions at the end of their presentation. The series, co-sponsored by the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, Ignite Fredericton and the New Brunswick Student Alliance, is open to the public and free to attend - but we do require registration to ensure we have enough space. Citizens can check out our website for more information or to register.
Third - specific to the Fredericton Region - we are preparing a list of questions - “Questions that Count” to send to all candidates in local ridings and are currently soliciting potential questions from our members and the community - get ahold of our Policy and Research Manager, Morgan Peters if you would like to make a submission. We will then post the written responses from our local candidates on our website as received.
Of course, our questions will be primarily business-based, but the answers and resulting policy will have an impact on all residents of the community. Our organizational vision is Stronger Community Through Business Prosperity - we believe that a healthy economy with favourable business conditions allows for economic growth which leads to greater prosperity for all. Remember - government only has all of our money to spend and all of that money is generated by business.
Krista Ross is CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, a nationally accredited organization with nearly 1,000 members, is an active business organization engaged in policy development and advocacy that affects the competitiveness of our members and the Canadian business environment. The Chamber’s vision is ‘Stronger Community Through Business Prosperity'.