April 16, 2012

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise today to report the results of my recent Oxford business survey. I want to thank all the businesses who responded to share their concerns and experiences with me.

I want to start by commending the many Oxford businesses who make an effort to shop locally. On average, respondents made 63% of their purchases locally.

Our business people work hard to make their companies succeed, but the message in the responses was that this government is holding them back. Seventy-one per cent of the businesses said that there was more red tape today than there was four years ago. On average, they spend 215 hours a year filling out government forms and paperwork. That’s time they could be spending on increasing productivity and with their customers.

Ninety-five per cent of respondents are very concerned about the deficit. But it’s clear from their responses that postponing tax cuts will only increase our fiscal problems. When asked what they would do with money saved from tax reductions, 78% of respondents said that they would use it to expand and hire more people or invest in equipment and infrastructure. This is over three quarters of the businesses that said that they would put the money back into our economy.

Over 600,000 people are out of work in this province. I think the government needs to listen to these results and realize that reducing business taxes, as planned, will create jobs.

Again, I want to thank all the business people in Oxford who took the time to respond, and I hope the government will take the time to listen and act on their advice.