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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics June 18, 2007
  Jun 18, 2007

This is a strategic calling poll of 515 small businesses in lower mainland BC between June 15-18th, 2007 with respondents who were either the business owner or operator/manager. These business lists are from a file of over 5,000 owned by ROBBINS. Only businesses from the GVRD generally participated. This poll features a margin of error of 5.75% 19 times out of 20 @98% competency/confidence, despite the fact that this is a more clearly defined and specific strategic calling environment. The higher margin of error reflects the closeness of outcome with respect to the main participating question on "Yes" or "No" to compensation. This poll was paid for by ROBBINS ASK and Jim Van Rassel, owner of New Trend Optical in Port Coquitlam, BC (604) 328-5398.

Question #1
This question concerns the construction of the Canada Line between Vancouver and Richmond, and more specifically that part of the Canada Line along Cambie (amended June 22, 2007). There are reports that some businesses are being detrimentally impacted by construction. Have you been following this story in the news?
Yes    28 %
No    72 %
Question #2
BC NDP Vancouver MLA Gregor Robinson believes small businesses along Arbutus negatively impacted by Canada Line construction should be compensated, while BC Liberal Finance Minister Carole Taylor believes it is a slippery slope and every time there is construction, businesses affected could claim compensation based on the precedent. Whose position do you most support?
BC NDP Gregor Robinson who says "Yes" to compensation    50 %
BC Liberal Carole Taylor who says "No" to compensation    50 %
Question #3
Recently, at the G8 Summitt in Germany, Rock Star Bono told reporters that PM Stephen Harper was blocking aid to Africa while the PM said he was not. Who do you side with on this matter?
Rock Star Bono    08 %
Prime Minister Stephen Harper    58 %
Neither    34 %
Question #4
Canada has a population of 35 million people and the second largest land mass in the World defined as a sovereign country. In your opinion does Canada have the tax base to be in Afghanistan, fight Global Warming and provide Aid to Africa
Yes    11 %
No    60 %
We don't have the resources for any of these    29 %
Question #5
If you had to choose only one issue for the Federal government to fund, which would it be: Global Warming, Afghanistan, or Aid to Africa?
Global Warming    50 %
Afghanistan    41 %
Aid to Africa    09 %
Approximately 30% of respondents (owners of small business on the lower mainland) were familiar with the issue of compensation for businesses experiencing losses on Arbutus corridor (through Cambie Street-amended June 22, 2007) owing to construction of the Canada Line.
Business owners are split between BC NDP Gregor Robinson's position to compensate owners, and BC Liberal Finance Minister's Carole Taylor's decision to not compensate small businesses on Arbutus corridor (Cambie Street) who have suffered losses.
Small business owners in the lower mainland of BC support Prime Minister Stephen Harper's position in terms of aid to Africa to a much greater extent than they support Rock Star Bono's.
Small business owners in a super majority do not believe that Canada has enough resources to fund all major campaigns including Global Warming, Afghanistan and aid to Africa. There is a strong minority who do not support any of these (30%).
Global Warming and Afghanistan are the big winners amongst small business people in terms of their priorities with tax dollars. Aid to Africa received little support, in part because respondents are less inclined to spend tax dollars abroad when MANY PERCEIVE WE HAVE MORE PROBLEMS IN CANADA WHICH REQUIRE OUR TAX DOLLARS, and we are perceived to be more invested of Global Warming and particularly Afghanistan.
Small business respondents (either owner or operating managers) who were "women", and who had < less than 10 employees, were retail, and were located on main thoroughfares or busy ancillary routes, were MUCH more inclined to be sympathetic to the issue of compensation than small business owners and managers who had more employees, were not exclusively retail, and had businesses off main roads.
Of the 23 respondents with Asian surnames only two said "Yes" to compensation, while none believed it was worthwhile to be involved in Global Warming, Afghanistan or with Aid to Africa. "Help yourself first" say Asian small business owners and managers. The all Chinese Party emerging in BC will have to consider how Asian business owners perceive social justice.
Women small business respondents who own/managed retail businesses on main roads with less than 10 employees supported compensation over (70%).
ROBBINS observes that Carole Taylor may have enjoyed a slight bias, as she is the sitting government official and the Finance Minister to 'boot'. This consideration is reduced somewhat by a general perceived bias of small businesses with more employees which are not exclusively retail, who may support the BC Liberals or BC NDP anyhow.
It is our opinion at ROBBINS that with respect to the matter of compensation for small business on Arbutus, small business owners are equally divided. Responses ran consistently through this split with little if any deviation.
Gregor Robertson fared better in Vancouver City proper (56%) and Burnaby (61%), while Carole Taylor fared better in Surrey and Langley, and particularly better in Richmond (60%).
Both mainstream BC political parties do well with these constituents because the type of personalities that own/manage small business are no nonsense about their decision, don't question the veracity of question asked (spoiled ballot problem) and generally provide the information required to make a good poll. As a consequence, unlike the aggregate popularity of both mainstream parties which ROBBINS polls have revealed leave a vacuum in terms of voter satisfaction, small business was ready to pick a side.
Gregor Robinson may have done better as the percentage of respondents who were familiar with the issue were more inclined (61%) to support compensation, often because of the breach of promise by the Campbell government in this specific instance (tunnel).
Also, more voters will traffic retail stores than other small businesses, and these stores obviously feel more empathy toward the negatively impacted small businesses along the Arbutus corridor.
Carole Taylor can take satisfaction that her position with small business is better affirmed outside the city of Vancouver proper and particularly with 'larger' small businesses.
The BC Liberal Finance Minister may want to reconsider the Arbutus corridor compensation based only on the fact that a promise was broken. This would satisfy the situation, and nullify the concern raised by the 'slippery slope' rationale.
Small business is in no hurry to send scarce tax dollars abroad, and they certainly aren't concerned with the opinion of Rock Star Bono, ("an outsider"). Respondents were not inclined to offer apologies when not supporting Canada's involvement in projects like Aid to Africa, but when commenting thereafter frequently cited Canada's own needs for homeless, and others affected by poverty.
Small business owners are 'wired' to think about taking care of their own back yard, and are reluctant to spend scarce dollars on worldwide projects. Small business owners who think this way, sometimes suggest that Canada is doing the work while other countries are not.

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