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Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 - Small Business Week

Small Business Week

Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, from October 14 to October 20, we recognize the importance of small business in Canada with Small Business Week. Since the foundation of our country in 1867, small businesses have been and will always be an important economic player in every region in Canada. Whether in British Columbia or New Brunswick, they all play a vital role in our communities, provinces and country.

According to Statistics Canada, over 5.1 million Canadians, representing 48 per cent of the private sector workforce, are employed by small businesses. Furthermore, in 2009, facing economic uncertainty, small businesses overcame adversity and accounted for 86 per cent of Canadian exports. Although exports accounted for 30 per cent of the GDP in 2009 instead of its usual 40 per cent, small business exports were unchanged. This demonstrated Canada's solid economic foundation and that small businesses are the backbone of this country.

[Translation]

Small businesses' most important contribution is in communities. In New Brunswick, small businesses play a key role both as employers and as citizens of our communities. Communities and their residents benefit from small businesses' economic contribution and community involvement.

For example, back home in Kent County, New Brunswick, W.M. Arseneau in Rogersville, a heavy equipment supplier for the construction and forestry sector, is not only one of the largest employers in the region, providing a service that is vital to the community's development, but it also gives back to the community through sponsorships and donations.

Babin Paving in St-Louis-de-Kent is a local business that is committed to community development. For years, Babin Paving has been contributing to various community projects through donations and sponsorships.

Those are just two examples among many. W. M. Arseneau and Babin Paving play a crucial role in regional development as employers and as good citizens who are involved in the community. In Kent County and across Canada, small businesses contribute to developing and maintaining our communities.

[English]

Small businesses in Canada will continue to grow and provide not only job creation but also the essential community involvement, especially to our youth.

Honourable senators, let us recognize the invaluable work done by Canadian small businesses and encourage them in their ongoing activities in developing our communities while exporting Canada to the rest of the world.

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