Canadians deserve federal governments that deal responsibly with their tax dollars. Prudent fiscal management with an informed understanding ofshort and long-term economics help produce sustainable prosperity for the entire country and for regions like ours.
Canadians also deserve representatives who understand the diverse capacities of the Canadian economy, understand the issues facing particular industries and firms, and can work with members of local governments and the business community to provide the conditions for meaningful long-term employment instead of the trend we have seen towards precarious, low-wage and temp work.
Yet year after year, budget after budget, successive federal governments have failed to invest our money in ways that show understanding of the needs and capacities of Canadian industry – including agri-business, small business and manufacturing – which are so important to us in Brantford-Brant.
In place of well-thought out economic policies, we have received budgets that place short-term election success ahead of long-term economicgrowth and we have seen te economy stall and are now likely in recession again.
While our neighbours in the US are seeing signs of economic growth, we’ve received misleading figures, ideologically driven speculation, and a refusal to deal with emerging changes within international markets. The 2015 Federal Budget released during this election year illustrates such tendencies all too well.
First and foremost, prudent fiscal management depends on accurate assessments of future revenues and economic trends. Yet this year, the federal government has for the first time ever decided to set aside the long-established tradition of basing revenue projections on current commodity prices, and is instead basing its figures on the wildly optimistic assumption that oil prices will increase over each of the next five years.
That is quite a gamble to make and it simply isn’t honest or responsible.
Faced with plummeting oil prices caused by expanding shale production in America, the reentry of Iran into world markets, and an ongoing price war with OPEC countries, these rosy projections are just not probable.
Relying on questionable figures is bad enough. When coupled with the Federal Government’s decision to achieve a balanced budget by raiding two-thirds of its own emergency fund, it becomes downright dangerous. A shell game to balance a budget that the Parliamentary Budget Officer says will still not work and will still see us over a billion dollars in deficit.
We all remember the financial crisis of 2008, with its timeless lesson that economic events beyond our immediate control can sometimes cause far-reaching devastation. But during a fiscal quarter that Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has described as “atrocious,” our federal government has crippled our capacities to deal with such problems in the future. Instead of saving for a rainy day, they have decided to squander our resources on questionable initiatives like income-splitting and tax-free savings accounts, which benefit only the top fifteen-percent of Canadians.
Then again, it is not as though the federal government has been doing a great job of understanding and investing in the future of Canadian Industry. Despite urgent calls from premiers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Colombia, whose export industries are operating at a capacity far below international demand for Canadian products, they have repeatedly refused to increase badly needed infrastructure funding to the lucrative Asia-Pacific trading corridor or help train adequate numbers of Canadians for the jobs needed in that region. Instead we see abuses for the temporary foreign worker program that drives wages down for us all and hurt the middle-class.
Given such failures, is it any surprise that 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since the current government was elected in 2006, or that a recent report by CIBC analysts concluded that thequality of employment in Canada is at an all-time low?
Canadians deserve better. Our collective talents and our joint economic opportunities are too significant to be compromised by a continued slide towards unemployment and low-quality temporary work.
That is why I’ve been so committed to lowering taxes on small and medium sized businesses, the primary engines of job-creation in our nation.
It’s why I joined with others in Brantford-Brant to advocate for a National Food Strategy that provides fairness for regional farmers over international conglomerates and connects smaller scale producers with markets that are increasingly interested in buying locally and reinvesting in their own economies.
It’s also why I favour initiatives aimed at retaining and gaining hundreds of thousands of high paying manufacturing jobs, and have pushed for measures such as an Innovation Tax Credit, which would reward those companies who reinvest their profits towards procuring machinery and equipment required for continued success and good jobs in the region.
Our economy is too important to fall back into recession – especially when many in our community are still feeling the effects of the last recession. The current plan hasn’t been working but I am hopeful and optimistic that change is on the horizon.