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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

Hometown Hockey rolled into town yesterday and over the past 24 hours have transformed the Front St. Parking lot across from City Hall. It's hard not to be excited about this unique opportunity to have our community showcased across the country! The backdrop of City Hall - as much as we might take it for granted - will be an impressive sight on Sunday night. I do hope you'll come down to check out the events and activities happening both afternoons leading up to the live commentary hosted in Belleville by Ron McLean & Tara Slone. Kudos to the team here at the Log Cabin who make these events happen - Susan, Rosi & Matt will all be working to make sure the Hometown Team has everything they need for a successful event. I'm still working on the weather (but at least it will be mild!)

And then, just like that - we will shift gears and I will move into full "Chamber" mode. I will be in Queen's Park on Monday with your Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair Greg Sudds where the Chambers across Ontario will meet with a variety of ministers, attend plenary sessions and develop further understanding of what we need from our political leaders to help small business thrive. In an election year, this also helps us frame our expectations of our candidates - a conversation we want to have with you, as our members, in May when we have Andrew Thiele, policy analyst from the OCC come for a lunch visit. Backtracking a bit, the Advocacy Day at Queen's Park is followed by a two-day conference for Chamber Executives. I went to this same conference last year - before I'd even officially started my "job" and I was honoured to be asked to sit on a panel this year to discuss the election process... what a difference 12 months makes!  

While we all look forward to the opportunities to connect with each other at Breakfasts and Mingles, and we did have a great turnout for MP Neil Ellis this week - with an interesting conversation about the business case for legalizing marijuana - the real work of the Chamber focuses on advocacy.

As we prepare for two elections in the coming months, part of that job is understanding what answers we need from our candidates. What potential change can happen and what change should... It's about seeing beyond empty promises and finding the integrity and capability within our leaders to support small business and the economy you create within the community.