Report from your Crowfoot MP

Cutting Red Tape for Small Businesses: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has created a Red Tape Reduction Commission, a team of experienced small businesspeople and Members of Parliament who will consult Canada-wide with small business owners and entrepreneurs to identify areas where red tape is hurting small business success in Canada.  The number one priority of our Conservative Government remains the economy. With the global economic recovery still fragile, we can further our commitment to creating jobs and economic growth by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.
We know that red tape is a silent killer of jobs and limits economic growth.  In our riding, we can see it in virtually every industry.  Throughout my travels meeting with many constituents over the course of the Parliamentary Christmas break, I have heard many ideas about what should and should not be in Budget 2011.  Over the years as your MP, many of you have shared with me the hurdles and struggles confronted trying to establish a small business. I hear these stories from the younger generation who often see new opportunities as they join the work force. While the more senior workers may welcome the innovations, the hard part too often becomes getting the new enterprise 'off the ground'.
As the government, we have recognized and pursued the opportunity to try and help Canadians with the burden of launching small businesses. Our Budget 2007 Paperwork Burden Reduction Initiative resulted in a 20% reduction in 'red tape'.  Since then, we eliminated almost 80,000 "regulatory requirements" and "information obligations" that were crippling new-business start-ups. Another noteworthy effort was having Canada Revenue Agency reduce the frequency of required tax filing and remittances and provide "My Business" Accounts to streamline an entrepreneurs communications with the Agency. The latter two measures 'freed up' a large number of 'man-hours' on shop floors in virtually every small business in Canada.
We have done many other things, too. You can read about them at www.bizpal.ca, a centre point for small businesses to go for assistance and information from our federal government.
There is more to be done to help our local job creators do what they do best - drive Canada's economy forward.  90% of businesses in Canada (just over one million) are considered small (fewer than 100 employees). They employ 48% of Canada's labour force (five million workers). Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees contribute about 29% to Canada's GDP. Again, we can clearly see these firms in our own neighbourhoods. Many of our entrepreneurs have plans and dreams that they know would work and our governments should not be a hindrance to them. The Red Tape Reduction Commission will report in the fall of 2011 and the federal government will respond to their recommendations in 2012.
I would ask our local entrepreneurs and would-be business creators in our riding to take a few moments and visit www.reduceredtape.gc.ca Send in your suggestions to this online consultation process. Our government is trying to establish a 'client-centred' approach to cutting red-tape and helping our small businesses grow and create jobs in communities large and small for hard-working Canadians raising their families.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, AB T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail sorenk1@parl.gc.ca