I see many closed shops and empty storefronts in Esquimalt these days. I believe I have a solution that can help Esquimalt facilitate the re-population of our empty storefronts. The main problem I believe is the discriminatory Business and License Regulation By-Law. There are all sorts of Constitutional violations inside this beast. This by-law inhibits the growth of business in Esquimalt and tries to impose rules that it has no authority to impose. At 18 pages long, it may seem like a simple and harmless document, but nothing could be further from the truth. You can find the full text of the by-law here http://www.esquimalt.ca/files/PDF/Bylaws/Bylaw_2810_-_Business_Licence_and_Regulation.pdf
For our residents to be able to share in the prosperity of the business community, we need local jobs. These can help stem some of the rising costs we face in society today. Such as being able to walk to work, would eliminate the cost of gas or bus fare. It would give our residents more time to be doing the things they choose to enjoy rather then spending long times commuting, especially if they have to commute during the horrendous traffic jam in the afternoon. I have heard many rumblings of people who are unwilling to open a business here because of the meddling of Council to impose their subjective morals to a job which should be facilitating the creation of business in our township.
There are quite a few things in this by-law I would strike down.
Firstly, I would imitate a very successful community, Langford, in making the business licenses not expire every single year. To most people this looks like an obvious cash grab. Eliminate the need to reapply every year if the business has not had any substantial changes.
Second, I would eliminate the power and authority to control which days business are allowed to open, for it is the business owners/operators liberty to choose their work hours to best suit their customers. Council has no right to dictate that a business cannot be open on a Sunday.
Third, I would eliminate the discriminatory differences in costs for licenses, as under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we are all to be treated EQUALLY under and before the law. Charging some people $100 and others $2000 is a gross violation of the fundamental freedoms we all enjoy in Canada.
I would be open to hosting some town halls and talking more to you if you have any other ideas on how to get more businesses to open and relocate to Esquimalt. When a Council starts messing with the liberty of its residents to engage in business in their home towns, it affects their prosperity and brings the whole community down.
If I am given a Council seat, I will be your constitutional watchdog. I will begin eliminating unlawful and obviously unconstitutional violations in any and all by-laws. The role of government is to protect the rights and property of its citizens. Council is not here to tell you how to run your business, or decide that some business need moral restrictions, while others should be given more liberty.
This Nov.15th I’m asking you to Vote for Josh Steffler for Liberty, Prosperity and Community.