St. Catharines’ local government underperforming in the eyes of small businesses

The results of a survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveal that in St. Catharines is not meeting the needs of its small business community. 

With municipal elections just around the corner, now is the time for local candidates to speak up about what they would do to support the job-creators in St. Catharines.

“Small businesses are the backbone of their local communities”, explained CFIB’s vice-president for Ontario, Satinder Chera, adding that “these results are a wakeup call for local leaders who have been accustomed to treating their small business constituents as nothing more than cash cows”.
A total of 117 businesses in St. Catharines took part in CFIB’s face-to-face survey between July 2009 and June 2010. When asked, How do you rate the local government where your business is situated on the following issues?

Here’s how these business owners responded:
     Overall awareness of small business sector – 11% Good; 29% Adequate; 60% Poor
     Reasonable property tax levels – 11% Good; 32% Adequate; 57% Poor
     Fairness of by-laws and regulations – 8% Good; 56% Adequate; 36% Poor
     Control of government wage levels – 4% Good; 25% Adequate; 71% Poor
     Value-for-money of public services – 11% Good; 40% Adequate; 49% Poor

“It is important for all levels of government to be attuned to the concerns of small business, especially in the wake of the recent recession”, reasoned Plamen Petkov, a senior policy analyst with CFIB. “The purpose of these results is to bridge that gap.

To view the results of other municipalities in the region and across the province, please visit

We are on the down side of the proverbial slippery slope. Our municipality, currently lead by Mayor McMullan, has demonstrated an anti-business attitude that is clearly illustrated by the current state of commerce and supported by the findings described in this CFIB survey. Impediments to business and commerce are impediments to prosperity!

Unfortunately we have narrowed, and for far too many, we have actually eliminated the ‘Prosperity Gap!’ The ‘Prosperity Gap’ is the difference between taxes and the take home pay required for survival! The ‘GAP’ drives our commerce and prosperity! It is imperative for every society to take care of their business!

This survey is just one more disappointment in a string of disappointments that the Niagara Winners Circle {NWC} has been railing against for years!

The headlines scream ‘Plant closure to eliminate jobs’. Still we waste $30million on The Niagara Economic Development Corporation {NEDC}, which cannot or will not point to any measurable success in attracting new industries to Niagara.

When asked by NWC not one Regional Councillor could point to meaningful NEDC success.

The CFIB says the problem is political. The problem lies in political longevity! Recent historical evidence finds that long-term politicians, have become more of a problem than a problem solver, because of political experience.

We rely too heavily on political experience. But what political experience does it take to do the right thing, make the right choices, at the right time, and for all the right reasons?

We have decade’s long politicians that overly obsess about themselves and their particular party! They have lost their original zeal and sense of responsibility to effectively perform for their electorate.*

The problem is definitely political and political spin and excuses can longer fly in the face of facts!

*Reference sources are the lifetime work ‘Decline of the West’ by Oswald Spengler or ‘The Study of History’ by Arnold Joseph Toynbee.

Municipal Failure