The countdown continues.  Less than three weeks from today, voters from across Ontario will head to the polls, to determine how Ontario will be governed for the next four years.  The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce encourages all eligible voters to make sure that they are registered and get out to vote on June 7, 2018.   We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the ability to vote and it is a personal responsibility for all of us.

As the “Voice of Business”, the Chamber has been looking at the various platforms and as we have referenced in the past, working with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on the “Vote Prosperity” platform.  The campaign is based on surveys of over a thousand businesses in Ontario and conducted each year, over the past couple of years.  Although many of the statistics quoted by Government over the same period show the economy doing better than most, there are many underlying facts and factors, that are not reflective of those same stats.

We have seen business confidence in the economy drop and this has been evident by the surveys over the last two years.  This is extremely important to the business community as it reflects the lack of confidence, which usually means lack of investment or expenditures on growth.  Couple this with the present regulations to do business in this Province and we are seeing and hearing that it is not an attractive place to do business.  That is why this upcoming election is important to all of us.

Without investment and growth, this Province will not be able to tackle the many issues that need to be addressed.  If we continue to spend without the prerequisite growth, we will have no alternative but, to pay more in taxes and that will surely erode further confidence and therefore investment, in the business community.  Small and medium size businesses in Ontario are the backbone of this Province and according to the Ontario Chambers survey’s, they do not want further regulations and feel overtaxed already.

The Provincial debt load is staggering and continuing the same path will not make things easier in the future.  Look at each of the party’s platforms and the individuals running for election in our ridings.  We encourage our members to write the individuals and ask them directly; “how are they are going to return our Province to prosperity?”.  At election time, promises are plenty, but details are sparse.  The devil is always in the details and if you are not informed it will be difficult to decide on where we are going.  One thing that is for sure, we do not need further taxation, we can not expect to grow if we are going backwards.

Check out the Vote Prosperity platform http://www.occ.ca/vote-prosperity2018/

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.