Chamber influence continues at national level

The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce continues to influence the policy positions of its national counterpart.

The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce continues to influence the policy positions of its national counterpart.

All three policy resolutions presented by the local business organization at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting in St. John’s, N.L., on the weekend were adopted.

They focused on a green economy, technology-driven innovation and the impact of the Harmonized Sales Tax.

In the case of the green economy initiative, the Red Deer Chamber resolution calls upon the federal government to establish regulatory frameworks that encourage businesses that are environmentally friendly, and to reduce subsidies and support for those that are not.

It also seeks regulations that promote investment in green technologies, stimulation of such technologies in all industries, and education of producers and consumers as to the importance of environmental sustainability.

The technology-driven innovation — or technovation — resolution presses the Canadian government to broaden its grants and loans programs into a technovation grant fund for small and medium-size businesses that commercialize technovation; increase opportunities for such grants and loans, including for new and emerging technologies; and keep intellectual property laws current.

The Red Deer Chamber’s third resolution urges the government to exempt asset management services — such as those related to mutual funds and pension plans — from the federal Goods and Services Tax. It also wants managed assets retroactively excluded from the Harmonized Sales Tax.

In the latter case, because expenses related to many managed asset products are pooled, investors in provinces not subject to the HST may still be affected by it.

“The quality of debate by member chambers from across the country is really outstanding,” said Maureen McMurtrie, who attended the national meeting as incoming president of the Red Deer Chamber.

“We did our best to answer objections and advocate for our positions. We’re happy with the process and, of course, delighted with the outcome.”

Joining McMurtrie in St. John’s were Alberta Chambers of Commerce board member and Red Deer businessman Domenico Mancuso, and Red Deer Chamber executive director Tim Creedon, finance and enterprise policy committee chair Scott McMurtrie and policy manager Danielle Klooster.

In May, the Red Deer Chamber won support from the Alberta Chambers of Commerce for three similar policy resolutions, plus others related to the enhancement of productivity of Alberta workers and modifications to Alberta’s Land Stewardship Act and Land Use Framework.

Policies adopted by the provincial and national chambers are advocated by those organizations to government.