Today I had the pleasure of attending lunch at the http://www.fourseasons.com/whistler/   ….The lunch was hosted by Whistler Chamber of Commerce and todays topic was “Your Chamber – Your Voice” and the word for the day was Advocacy.

Wikipedia –

Advocacy by an individual or by an advocacy group normally aim to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an asset of interest. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or poll or the ‘filing of friend of the court briefs’. Lobbying (often by Lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.[1]

Pistachio Chicken Scallopini, Angel Hair Pasta, Olive & Caper Relish

Coffee & Bailey’s Cheesecake, Raspberry Compote ( wow!)

Now that I have had a chance to digest…. the lunch….which was exceptionally good… I felt very proud of the work Fiona and her dedicated group are doing at our Whistler Chamber of Commerce. I believed what she was saying to everyone and I could feel the passion she exuded the entire time. The main point for today was “Advocacy” and what it really means to us as business members of the Chamber. A very comprehensive explanation was given and much appreciated. The Chamber brought together examples of other successful Chambers and their Advocacy programs which are in place and working well for their communities.

Deb McClelland came from Kamloops to share their business dream as a community and the steps they under took to begin achieving them through drastically changing the landscape of infrastructure and programming. The road map that was set out and the committment it was going to take to bring their members along was a well-engineered plan.

  Shannon Renault lead an outstanding example of Victoria’s achievements and the importance of letting everyone know you as the Chamber were in fact working on Advocacy by allowing people to see them in action via different media exposure. Then importance of taking a place and standing by it.

What I garnered as interesting was Shannon’s statement of finding out how to pay for infrastructure before implementing it – and advocacy being at the core function of the process.

Jon Garson is the Vice President, Policy Development for BC Chamber of Commerce and a complete honor to listen to his 15 minutes outlining the players and the important political steps involved when working with the government. I have taken the liberty of sharing with you his explanation.

  • The power of a message has many voices
  • have a clear and well-defined process
  • Provide resources
  • find champions / stakeholders within your community
  • be ready for controversy
  • be committed for the long haul
  • Your integrity of process is important

Jon further told us if we didn’t get involved someone else will. That British Columbia is the most vocal province with change in Canada. Having a voice at your municipal level is the grass-roots for change and further at a provincial level… and of course the Chamber of Canada has the voice at the federal level. We are the people in business, the chamber is our voice for change politically. Only chamber members can take part in issues brought on by their representative chamber boards. In the end active involvement and comprehensive communication is key – working together as business owners through the many avenues the chamber has established such as 12 @ 12…. Jon’s best tip was an obvious one… but apparently not to everyone. If you have a problem offer a solution at the same time. The government does not like being dumped on without some helpful solutions.

An excellent afternoon, a sacrifice of two hours of office work or 3o degree sunshine… and well worth it – thank you.

Cheers!

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