What is a Chamber of Commerce?
As defined in the dictionary:
Chamber of Commerce (n.) – a local association to promote and protect the interests of the business community in a particular place.
With the power of numbers Chambers champion ideas, and collectively move forward sensible solutions for business. Chambers advocate on behalf of the business community at all three levels of government and are successful in these efforts due to their non-partisan nature. Chambers are not-for-profit, membership-driven organizations.
Throughout the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce’s 125 year history we have advocated for, supported and contributed to the Red Deer business community. Today our mission statement still reflects this continued support:
“The Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce fosters an environment where business can lead, be innovative, sustainable and grow”
The very first act of advocacy was when the Board of Trade lobbied the territorial government to have Red Deer incorporated as a town and was successful when Red Deer was officially incorporated in 1901. Over the years, acts of advocacy included infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, roads and bridges, guiding the development of the downtown in the 1950s and 1960s and reduction in government spending and tax rates.
Advocacy on the provincial and federal fronts have always been priorities as well. In the 1930s the Chamber dropped its longstanding stance of non-partisanship to actively oppose the Social Credit government led by William Aberhart. Modern policies advocated by the Chamber include the reduction of business taxes, the elimination of the carbon tax, and providing a pathway to Permanent Residency for entrepreneurial immigrants. Fortunately we are seeing great progress as the UCP government has passed legislation to reduce the corporate tax rate from 12% to 8% over the next four years along with eliminating the carbon tax.
Federal advocacy included Chamber’s efforts to have the government locate the military training camps in Red Deer prior and during the first and second World Wars, the elimination of the Canada Wheat Board monopoly, and now our efforts to promote a cross-country Transport and Utility Corridor and have a Royal Commission undertake a comprehensive review of the Canadian tax statutes.
The various policies advocated to the three levels of government are consistent in that the Chamber always takes position that helps build business and community.
Building a vibrant and thriving business community where we all want to live and work has also been an underlying goal of the Chamber for the past 125 years. From the organizing of the Jubilee celebrations in 1934, the purchase of two ambulances, planting of trees along highway 2 (now Gaetz), and coordinating V-Day celebrations in the 1940s, assisting in the first local United Way campaign and organizing the first Trade Fair & Queen Contest in the 1960s and donations to Westerner Park to relocate and build new buildings as well as to other not-for-profit organizations. It is examples like these that shows the Chamber’s past and continued support for the local community.