Strategic investments can help our economy

[attach]3736[/attach]During January and February, I hosted several coffee and conversation gatherings, and I met with small business owners operating in Don Valley West and talked with corporate executives who live in the community.

What I heard confirmed two things I already suspected: families are being squeezed by record personal debt, utility costs, child care and tuition expenses and trying to save for retirement; and the biggest threat to business in Canada is not the current corporate tax rate, but the record high federal government deficit.

That’s why I think it is important to invest in the Canadian family and fight the deficit instead of reducing corporate taxes.

Maintaining corporate tax rates at their already-low 2010 levels is critical. Low tax rates have helped Canada compete, but today’s priority must be to reduce the deficit and make targeted investments that address the economic pressures on both families and business.

Our large corporations are doing just fine — they already benefit from one of the lowest tax rates in the G7.
Families and small businesses need a break.

During the years of Liberal government surpluses, once Paul Martin had slain the deficit, he significantly reduced personal and corporate taxes, making business in Canada competitive on the world stage.

Now, with a record $56-billion deficit, we simply can’t afford to borrow $6 billion more for additional tax breaks for Canada’s largest corporations.

By investing in Canadian families in a long-term and strategic fashion we can strengthen the fundamentals that are the real basis for the success of the Canadian economy.

Even Canada’s largest industry and trade association — Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters — has been critical of the government’s sole obsession with corporate tax rates, at the expense of all else.

Jay Myers, president and CEO, said the following when finance minister Jim Flaherty announced his corporate tax cut in Budget 2008: “This budget worries me because it sends the message that a reduction in corporate tax rates is the silver bullet for the economy.

“That gets you in the game. But, it doesn’t give you many chips to play with as other nations are encouraging investments in technology, innovation and skills.”

Strategic investments in Canadian families and in training and innovation can address the real economic pressures facing Canadians while leaving a lasting economic legacy for Canada — by providing the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, helping families to balance work and home care, keeping retirees out of poverty and expanding our global trading relationships.

That’s why our economic priorities need to be centred upon helping Canadian families when it comes to learning, jobs, family care and pensions.

This is how we get ahead as a country.