When Business and Politics Collide

July 7, 2016

PRINCE GEORGE – Chambers of Commerce are business-focused organizations, first and foremost. But there are many ties that bind business to politics. When it comes to the Chamber’s role as ‘advocate’, we listen closely to our members and document the stories of those who have experienced an impediment to business. Many of these obstacles involve issues with red tape, processes, or legislation that only government has the authority to change.

It is critical for Chambers of Commerce to build and nurture relationships with representatives from various levels of government in order to deliver ideas and feedback to them with openness and mutual respect.

Our Chamber’s relationship with government is enhanced through continuous dialogue.To start, meetings between our Board of Directors, staff, and government representatives are held at the Chamber throughout the year.

At other times, our Chamber will make presentations to our municipal Mayor and Council, if they can affect change on the matter. These are opportunities to discuss local and regional business challenges, upcoming priorities, and to reflect on obstacles that have been recently overcome.

The Chamber’s Advocacy Committee also works year-round to identify business challenges, research the issues, write resolutions that include recommendations on possible solutions, and present these resolutions to the members of the BC Chamber and Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Once accepted by the membership, the resolutions become part of the Advocacy efforts of multiple Chambers across the provinces and Canada. These are the key issues we bring up during our meetings with various levels of government.

Beyond our staff and Board of Directors, our members also need direct access to the government representatives for our area. This is why we host Chamber events featuring MPs and MLAs like our upcoming Speaker Series Luncheon with MLAs Shirley Bond and Mike Morris.

These events help members stay informed on current business issues, connect them to other businesses who share similar challenges, and provide opportunities for members to deliver their concerns to the individuals who can create positive change.

The upcoming luncheon ‘Pull Up a Chair: Summer Update with Local MLAs’ will take place July 6 from 11:30am-1:15pm at the Ramada Hotel in Prince George. Guests will receive an update on local issues pertaining to Mike and Shirley’s portfolios, an opportunity to engage with the MLAs during our Q & A session, and the chance to casually connect with two Northern MLAs and Cabinet Ministers.

Tickets are only $26 for Chamber members and $36 for future members. You may register on our website: www.pgchamber.bc.ca where you’ll find the luncheon listed under our ‘Events’ tab, or by calling the Chamber at 250-562-2454. Our MLA luncheons are often sold out so register today to avoid disappointment.

– Christie Ray is the CEO of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at christie.ray@pgchamber.bc.ca.

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