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The Struggle of Local Businesses, and How The West Can Win

The aftermath, or rather aftershock, of the 2019 federal election in Canada has left a seismic stir in Western Canada. Following the reelection of the Liberal party, the word “Wexit” (Western-exit) has now become a household term in the Western provinces.

Spearheaded by the West’s politics and economic struggle, the principles of Wexit proclaim that Western Canada (consisting of the four Western provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) doesn’t need the rest of the country to survive, and would be better off on it’s own. 

Maybe. Maybe not. 

While the idea gains traction, it now falls on businesses and individuals alike in Western Canada to consider the origins of the services and products they consume and whose economy they ultimately contribute to. 

In order for Western Canada to thrive, it needs to support itself internally. This means starting at the bottom, where locals buy from locals, and support local businesses for daily needs such as groceries, to aiming higher, where businesses seek local solutions for supplies and services.

In 2017 the four Western provinces combined contained 418,079 small businesses (defined by 1-99 paid employees, excluding sole proprietors and people who are self employed), 7,269 medium businesses (defined by 100-499 paid employees), and 919 large businesses (defined by 500+ employees), according to this study by Statistics Canada regarding Small Businesses in Canada.

Furthermore, 3 out of 4 of these businesses have 9 or less employees. 

These are not mass corporations who consider your patronage as couch change. These are your neighbors, your friends, and your community. By supporting any of these 426,267 local businesses, you are promoting growth from within your own local economy. You are putting food on their tables.

In order to exact change from a system in serious need of economic repair, the mentality about convenience needs to change. Just because the first page of Google advertises a company who could fulfill a need, doesn’t mean that you should stop looking. In fact, you should be looking a lot deeper. 

Where is this company located?

How is this company operated?

What impact does this company have on it’s community?

Ultimately, where is your money, your investment into this company, going?

By disregarding this information when making decisions about what you buy, and where you buy it from, you are ignoring the people in your community. The people who rely on your informed support to grow and flourish. 

Not to mention, you’re bypassing the people who know your needs best, because they’re in the same boat as you. That’s why they risked everything to create solutions designed for you in the first place. They deserve your support.

In order for Western Canada to ever dream of becoming a united, independent entity, it must first, and foremost, look to support its own people from within. 

In the technology and software industry, companies from Ontario, and from cities in the United States such as San Francisco and Chicago, frequently obtain customers and clients from across North America, and from within Western Canada. The money that Western Canadian businesses and individuals spend on companies from outside of Western Canada does not benefit their own economy.

According to the Stats Canada’s 3rd Quarter population estimates from 2019, there are 11,986,579 people living in Western Canada. That is nearly 12 million people.

Now consider the impact of 12 million people deliberately spending $100 per year (less than $10 a month) on local businesses and services. 

That would equate to nearly $1.2 Billion circulating back into Western Canada’s economy. 

For most individuals, that would come down to buying a coffee two or three times a month from a local cafe. For a business, it could mean investing in a local accounting agency, or software company. 

How can Western Canadians talk about leaving Canada when they are still supporting businesses outside of their own economical sphere and neglecting the ones within it? 

More than ever it is time to start taking care of our own backyard. Either we stand together and support each other, or we fail. It’s that simple.

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