A joint message from Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce; and Graham Starmer, President, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

We urge  all chambers to mobilize their membership in support of the government’s economic strategy to reduce business taxes. In the next month, this strategy will be tested and widely debated when the government tables the budget. Ensuring the global competitiveness of Canadian businesses is a critical issue in every region of the country.

With government stimulus programs ending this year, the tax reductions are doubly important. They will free up capital to be put to work to grow Canada’s businesses and its economy.  This strategy has been supported by a majority of parliamentarians in two federal budgets since its inception in 2007.  

Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber

As of January 1, 2011, the federal corporate income tax rates fell from 18 per cent to 16.5 per cent, with a further 1.5 percentage point reduction scheduled for 2012, making Canada an extremely competitive environment in which to do business and create long-term, sustainable economic growth.

Today, there is a rising call for these tax reductions to be reversed and for government to direct the revenues to new spending. We feel strongly this will constrain the job creation and investment Canada’s businesses are making to grow and compete in a challenging global environment. The timing of the tax cuts could not be better. These tax cuts represent a significant fiscal injection into the Canadian economy as the focus turns to the private sector to drive growth but a tax increase would deliver a stinging blow to a still-fragile recovery.  

Government stimulus was important during the crisis, but it’s not the basis of real economic growth. Sustainable growth requires the private sector investment that can generate new jobs and federal revenues to pay down the deficit. The current tax plan, which was supported by both Liberal and Conservative parliamentarians, is essential for that investment. Our political leaders have to live up the promises they have made. Businesses across the country have invested with the understanding that taxes would decline. A sudden change of course would constitute a broken promise to thousands of businesses and the people they employ.  

Despite the recession ravaging public finances, 37 economies reduced corporate income tax rates in the last two year and many are planning further reductions. To remain competitive as well as to attract investment, Canada must complete its tax strategy.

Graham Starmer

Small business has a keen interest in this issue. Most small businesses are suppliers to bigger businesses; opportunities flow when the larger firms have the capital to buy. The alternative —rising taxes—dries up those opportunities. A vibrant large business sector leads to a strong and prosperous small business sector

We must confront the suggestion that this is “big business vs. the rest of us.” This issue is relevant to all Canadian business—large and small—in all regions of the country.

It is also an issue of vital importance to Canadians. Business taxes fall directly on Canadian families— workers through lower wages, consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services, and shareholders (including pensioners who own equity through RPPs, RRSPs and mutual funds) through lower returns.

To help you in your advocacy efforts, we have prepared the following materials:

We will also be working in partnership to coordinate communications efforts with chambers across the country. Regular strategy meetings will allow the entire network to participate, as well as follow what other chambers are doing to make their case. Our goal is to utilize the entire network, confronting this issue in regional markets as well as Ottawa. We want to provide useful tools for provincial, territorial, regional and local chambers to use in the debate, while tracking activities of all participants to document the strength of the Chamber network.

Please feel free to personalize these items. If you choose to run an ad and wish to use a photograph of a local business owner instead of the stock photo, or if you would like to resize the ad, please contact Michelle Croteau at 1.800.661.2930 ext. 247 or a [email protected] to obtain the original files. Also, please be sure to copy the Canadian Chamber on your correspondence to your member of Parliament and to send the Canadian Chamber any media clippings.

We urge you to join with us in a national campaign to persuade all elected officials and the public that the reductions in business taxes are a key element of Canadian prosperity.