With less than two months until voters in Merchant Advance’s home province of British Columbia head to the polls for a provincial election, small business owners are a major audience for the platforms of parties across the political spectrum. And yet, in a new survey of members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), a significant percentage of small business owners are undecided as to who they might support. What does this tell us about the relationship between governments and small businesses?

Though 96 percent of CFIB members intend to participate in the electoral process, a full 40% of those are undecided as of the release of the survey information.
One of the major questions that small businesses in BC have for a new government will be how they can improve the affordability of doing business. CFIB figures indicate that in the past three years, 79 per cent of BC small businesses say running their business has become less affordable.  Eighty-three per cent expect the issue to get worse in the years to come. So far, it seems, that none of the parties in contention to lead the province have offered a sufficiently compelling solution for many business owners.

According to a new Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) membership survey on provincial election issues, the top three concerns for business are the same ones consistently identified by the average Lower Mainlander: unaffordable rents, commuter gridlock and lack of affordable child care. Evidently, the campaigns’ efforts to address these issues for businesses have not yet been enough to sway this valuable and statistically significant group of voters toward any particular conclusions.

We aren’t officially aligned with any one political stance at Merchant Advance, but we support initiatives that put small business development in a position to move forward, both here in BC and across the country. What could the leadership candidates do to sway your vote? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.