The Honourable Perrin Beatty, P.C.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce
420 – 360 Albert Street
Dear Mr. Beatty:
It has come to our attention that the Chamber of Commerce will initiate a new advertising campaign opposing policies that are advocated by the Liberal Party of Canada. Specifically, our plan to cancel the Conservative government’s tax breaks for large corporations, in order to reduce the deficit and relieve the economic pressures facing Canadian families.
We believe – and we hope Chamber members would share this view – that Canadians must live within their means and so too must Canada’s federal government. It is not responsible to borrow another $6 billion a year, further increasing Canada’s record debt, to cut a corporate tax rate which thanks to the decisions of previous Liberal governments is already 25% lower than the United States’ and second lowest in the G7.
The Liberal Party stands proud in its record of cutting corporate taxes when budgets were balanced, reducing Canada’s business and income taxes by $130 billion. We cut those taxes while investing in vital economic and social priorities like the child tax benefit, public infrastructure, innovation and healthcare.
As a former cabinet minister in the Mulroney government, you can appreciate that deficits are a serious challenge that must be addressed for the long-term prosperity of our economy and nation. Indeed, in your response to the Speech from the Throne in March 2010 you noted, “It is critical to eliminate the federal deficit so that it is not left to future generations to shoulder.”
Canada’s federal government now faces a $56-billion deficit and its expenditures are simply not under control as examples of waste continue to add up. Even before the recession, the Conservative government spent more than any other in the history of Canada, increasing government spending at three times the rate of inflation in its first three years. Now the government is pushing the accelerator pedal with plans that will cost over $10 billion more for new prisons when crime rates are falling, and $16 billion more on a sole-sourced stealth fighter contract when Canada’s military requirements have yet to be defined. This after they already spent $1.3 billion on a 72 hour G8/G20 Summit when South Korea is expected to do the same for less than $25 million.
We believe the Conservative government’s spending choices are the wrong choices.
Canadian families face serious economic challenges, as they confront rising household debt, mounting education costs, the challenge of saving for retirement and the cost of caring for sick or aging family members. Further, Canada faces serious challenges in its future with an aging population and increasing needs for skilled labour. With a rapidly changing global economy, to remain competitive Canada must have the most skilled and productive workforce in the world.
As Mark Carney said earlier this year, “governments have put in place conditions for a productivity revival. Business, thus far, has disappointed.” The Leader of my party, Mr. Ignatieff, committed to you shortly after those comments were made that a Liberal government would be a partner in helping business actually achieve a productivity revival — by making investments in learning, innovation, families, and clean energy along with a credible approach to fighting the deficit and our already competitive corporate tax rates.
We are confident that when Canadians are faced with the choice, they will choose these priorities rather than billions more in borrowed money for more corporate tax cuts.
I look forward to a constructive discussion between the Chamber and members of the Liberal economic team when we meet in December to discuss the challenges facing the Canadian economy.
Scott Brison, M.P.