UCP Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr spoke to the Ponoka Chamber about the potential a new provincial government would provide to help support small business. File photo

UCP Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr spoke to the Ponoka Chamber about the potential a new provincial government would provide to help support small business. File photo

MLA speaks on small business while putting out a bit of an election teaser

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr took some time to talk to Ponoka Chamber members

Small business is one of the main economic drivers, especially in rural areas, and supporting them is critical.

That was the main message to the Oct. 16 meeting of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce delivered by UCP Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr.

Orr was the guest speaker during Small Business Week in the province with a focus on recognizing and celebrating these companies that make up the majority of businesses in Alberta.

“It’s those small businesses that create much of the energy that happens in our province and which drive much of the employment in Alberta and across the country,” he said, noting Canada has more than a million small businesses with more than half of those having four or fewer employees.

“So, how do we ensure that we make an environment that is supportive of small business?”

Orr acknowledged running a small business is not for the faint of heart.

“I celebrate all of you that are engaged in small business and I really believe that we should champion small business in Alberta because you bring about that prosperity and everything that comes with it,” he stated.

“It’s small business people that often are at the forefront of volunteering, donating, creating vision and inspiration, all because you are committed members of the community.”

In addition to Orr’s message of championing those that choose to run a small business, talk turned toward the looming provincial election next spring and just what the UCP could do if it were handed the power of government.

“I actually believe that business has a lot to teach government and government needs to learn from business,” he explained, adding the province’s recent economic troubles is deeper than some believe due to several challenges that could be fixed.

“The first is regulation. We are the only province that doesn’t deliberately review regulations to try to reduce it. We are actually asking everybody if there are areas within government that you think can work more effectively or efficiently by cleaning up or simplifying regulations, we will do our best to look at and see if we can fix some of those issues.”

Next was taxation and wages, which are always a major topic, with Orr noting Alberta needs a plan that doesn’t cause dysfunction or drives away business.

“I can tell you we won’t roll (the minimum wage) back. While it doesn’t necessarily help those that most need it, we will be looking at ways to try and enhance not only business, but address some of the side affects,” said Orr.

One other area he focused on was protecting the environment while eliminating the distress of complex and sometimes confusing regulations.

“Municipalities are struggling with moving forward on these issues when the rules are not clear. It’s about correcting the way the system flows and making it work for people,” Orr added.

“We need a government that recognizes that business can be a meaningful partner in society and contribute a lot to what happens.”



jordie.dwyer@ponokanews.com

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