Entries in federal election (4)

Thursday
Oct152015

In their own words: What the local candidates are saying to the business community

On Monday, October 19, 2015 Canadians will be voting in the 42nd Federal Election.  The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce asked the candidates for Peterborough-Kawartha riding five questions of local business significance.  The final question, "What is your personal statement to the Peterborough business community?" is answered here: 

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: Peterborough Kawartha’s business community is a key contributor to both the quality of life and standard of living in our area. Through the efforts of our entrepreneurs, wealth and jobs are created in the community. Beyond their financial impact, our businesses contribute to the social and cultural fabric of our region. They regularly and generously support community groups working to enhance the lives of our friends and neighbours. Their philanthropic efforts also have a positive impact on individual lives within our community.

Government needs to be a partner with our business community. It has an important role to play in supporting businesses through the creation of favourable conditions that allow them to create wealth and jobs.

In my view, government needs to concentrate on four key areas to assist businesses in job creation.

These include:

  • Establishing a competitive tax environment that encourages investment in innovation, technology and the development of new markets
  • Pursuing smart regulations that protect the environment, labour standards, and safety without placing an unnecessary regulatory burden on businesses
  • Investing in key economic infrastructure such as transportation, serviced industrial land, postsecondary education and the development of workers' skills, and
  • Assisting businesses with access to debt and equity capital that will help them reach new 
  • markets, adopt innovative processes and products, and establish new or expanded operations.

As your Member of Parliament, I would work diligently with you to build a Peterborough where our children and grandchildren will enjoy a positive social and economic future. 

Michael Skinner, Conservative: I strongly believe in supporting Job Creators and our local businesses.

In addition to supporting the development of skills training, our Government also recognizes the value of businesses and job creators in the long-term health of the Canadian economy. It’s not by chance, that Canada is consistently ranked one of the best countries in the world to do business. Our Government has taken significant steps to provide incentives and tax relief for job creators that contribute to Canada’s job and economic growth.

The Conservative Government knows that the vast majority of jobs are created by small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Canada’s small business owners and entrepreneurs are creating jobs and building wealth across the country. Small businesses make up 98% of all companies in Canada, employing nearly 70% of the private sector labour force and contributing nearly 40% to the GDP.

As a leading job creator in Canada, small businesses are essential to Canada’s overall prosperity.

Our Government is committed to doing everything it can to support small businesses and entrepreneurs to do what they do best, recognizing market needs and creating goods and services to meet those needs. 

I am proud that the conservative government has accomplished the following: 

  • Since 2006, our Government has reduced the corporate income tax rate for job creators from 21% to 15%, the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7.
  • We reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, and we will reduce it to 9% by January 2019, the largest tax rate cut for small businesses in more than 25 years.
  • We created the Venture Capital Action Plan to help increase private sector investment in innovative businesses; the plan has made up to $350 million available to establish up to four large-scale private sector-led funds.
  • We created a new late-stage venture capital fund to support entrepreneurs.
  • We made an aggregate investment of up to $50 million in established high-performing venture capital funds in Canada.
  • We created and extended the temporary Hiring Credit for Small Business to help small businesses by defraying the costs of hiring new workers.
  • Our Small Business Job Credit is reducing the federal EI premiums paid by small businesses in 2015 and 2016 by 15%, saving small businesses more than $550 million over two years.
  • We are providing entrepreneurs seeking to export to emerging markets for the first time with direct financial support.
  • We are supporting incubator and accelerator organizations to expand their support to entrepreneurs with $100 million through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program.

I believe jobs and our economy must be our number one priority. I also believe in the Conservative government’s proven track record of stability over risky change.

David Nickle, NDP:  The NDP is committed to the success of small and medium sized businesses which are responsible for nearly 40% of Canada’s GDP and employ more than 7.7 million Canadians. The NDP have proposed to cut the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to 9 percent to better support a sector of our economy that creates 78% of all new private sector jobs in Canada. The NDP will start with an immediate reduction from 11 to 10 percent, injecting some $600 million into Canada's small businesses - followed by an additional reduction to 9 percent in the second year of our mandate. Once fully implemented this will cut small business taxes by nearly 20 percent.

The candidates also answered this question at the Chamber's PBX at The Junction on Tuesday, October 6, 2015.  Listen to their answers and read the answers to all five business related questions online at:

peterboroughchamber.ca/federal-election-2015.html

While you're on the Chamber website reading about the candidates, check out the rest of the election tool kit, including a link to Elections Canada and information on the business platforms of the Canadian and Ontario Chambers of Commerce.    

Election Day is Monday, October 19, 2015.  

Wednesday
Oct072015

In their own words: What the local candidates are saying re: rail and pipelines

With a week and a half to go until Election Day, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce continues its series on what the candidates are saying with regard to issues of local business significance.   In this article are the responses to issues of passenger rail service and where the candidates stand on the Energy East Pipeline project.   Each candidate was asked to keep their responses to 500 words per question.  Captured in this article are the answers to two of the questions.  

What is your party’s position on (and why)?:

1. The Federal component of the funding to upgrade the rail line and reintroduce passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto.

Mike Skinner, Conservative: 
The Conservative government’s commitment of $150M towards the reestablishment of a passenger rail service still remains.  We are very willing to work with the province and the Shinning Waters Railway to continue this project along.  As the elected MP, this will be one of my primary priorities once the election is over.

Dave Nickle, NDP: The NDP has been defending VIA Rail services vigorously since the Conservatives started drastic cuts to passenger rail services in 2012. These cuts have hit Ontario especially hard.  Cutting VIA Rail services is pushing us further away from having an efficient and accessible regional rail in Ontario and is impacting our local tourism and business sectors.  

Eliminating service and driving away current and potential riders is not an acceptable way to modernize a competitive rail passenger service. These cuts did not improve VIA’s service offering nor boost its financial performance.  Reduced passenger rail service has undercut the economic stability of communities in Ontario. Reducing train service deprives Canadians of safe and affordable travel options.  VIA Rail provides a vital service and these routes have allowed our local communities to grow and prosper. Canadians travelling for business, school or recreation rely on VIA Rail to provide efficient, affordable and accessible services.  It’s shameful that Conservatives are cutting services so recklessly.

Only the NDP has stood up to propose legislation to mandate minimum service levels and an NDP Government will make it a priority to invest in efficient, safe and sustainable passenger rail services.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I fully support the proposed upgrade of the rail line between Havelock and the GTA. The availability of an upgraded and well maintained freight line is critical to maintaining and attracting new industry to our region. Businesses such as Quaker Oats and Unimin Mines depend on the ability to move product to and from the GTA. The Federal and Provincial governments have set aside funding in their fiscal
frameworks for these projects and work should begin as soon as possible.

I support the re-establishment of passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto as long as there is a realistic and comprehensive business plan that demonstrates that such a service is financially viable, and will not result in local taxpayers having to take on new financial obligations.

2. The Energy East pipeline project which, if approved by the National Energy Board, will bring 250 new jobs to Peterborough’s GE large motor plant.

Dave Nickle, NDP:  Canada’s natural resources are a tremendous gift and, managed properly and sustainably, can be important drivers for our economy.  Refining Canadian oil in Canada makes sense – but we need to ensure that a strong environmental review regime is in place to determine if projects like Energy East are safe and sustainable before they can proceed.  Unfortunately, the Conservatives have systematically dismantled environmental assessments and limited public input into major project reviews, meaning that a rigorous and credible assessment just isn’t possible under these circumstances. An NDP government will strengthen the environmental assessment regime to restore public confidence and ensure that the public interest and our environment are protected.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I believe our long term goal must be to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for energy production. As a party, Liberals are committed to working with the Provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop green-energy sources and encourage sustainable consumption practices. 

TransCanada describes their Energy East Project as a proposed $12 billion 4,600 km-long pipeline that will carry 1.1-million barrels of unrefined oil sands crude oil per day. It would run west-to-east from Alberta to existing refineries and new terminals in Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick. 

In the short and medium term, I support the need for Canada to invest in new infrastructure, including pipelines, to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. The risks involved in moving petroleum products by rail need to be mitigated and safer options employed. I support a robust regulatory review process. Such a process needs to provide independent and scientifically-based analysis. The overall review and decision process needs to incorporate key principals that include:

 

  • Building public trust
  • Consulting with and addressing the concerns of local communities
  • Respecting Aboriginal rights, and
  • Not placing our lands, waterways or ecosystems at risk. 

 

Mike Skinner, Conservative: 
The Energy East pipeline project which, if approved by the National Energy Board, will bring 250 new jobs to Peterborough’s GE large motor plant and 4,200 to the province of Ontario.  An elected conservative government supports this pipeline.  Today over 600,000 barrels of oil are delivered to the Province of Ontario via Rail or Truck, a pipeline will increase the safety and efficiency of this oil being delivered to Ontario.

Next week the Peterborough Chamber will post the answers from the candidates on the following question: “What is your personal statement to the Peterborough business community?”

Find the candidate answers on the Federal Election 2015 page of  the Chamber website

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

 

Be Informed:

The federal election involves many issues affecting the business community, from the economy to job creation to taxes to innovation and access to new markets, capital and a skilled workforce.

Learn more about what the parties are saying.   

Also on the webpage, more from:

 

 

With the new riding boundaries in effect for this election, there are links to Elections Canada.  There you can find out where to vote, when the advance polls are open, and ensure you are on the voters list.  

Election Day is Monday, October 19, 2015.  

Thursday
Oct012015

In their own words: What the local candidates are saying re: CPP & labour market information

As of today (Thursday, October 1, 2015), the 2015 federal election is just over three weeks away.  The polls continue to have all three main parties within percentage points of each other.   The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wrote to the candidates in the Peterborough-Kawartha riding asking them to respond to five questions with local business significance.  Each candidate was asked to keep their responses to 500 words per question.  Captured in this article are the answers to two of the questions.  The answers to the remaining three questions will be published in the next few weeks.  

What is your party’s position on (and why)?:

1. Increasing the allowable contribution level to CPP by employees to help encourage further retirement savings?

Dave Nickle, NDP: Middle-class families are worried about their retirement. They’re working harder and harder, but falling further behind. Too many Canadians won’t have enough savings for a secure retirement. As many as 5.8 million Canadians - nearly a third of our work force - are facing a steep decline in their standard of living when they retire, according to the CIBC’s chief economist. For many young Canadians, the situation will be worse. The Canada and Québec Pension Plans are proven, reliable savings vehicles. The health of the Plan is closely monitored by the Chief Actuary of Canada. But the challengesfacing Canadians who plan for retirement today, are vastly different than those facing their parents and grand-parents, a generation ago. Only about one third of Canadians now have access to a workplace pension plan, down from 41% a little over two decades ago. That is why we need to strengthen the CPP to ensure all Canadians can retire in dignity.  Canadians overwhelmingly support increasing the CPP to help them top-up their retirement savings. 

Tom Mulcair and the NDP will ensure CPP delivers retirement security.  Within six months of forming government, Tom Mulcair and the NDP will convene Canada’s First Ministers to develop broad-based agreement on enhancing CPP benefits.  We will seek agreement to establish key benchmarks and timelines for enhancements and ensure that any changes are implemented in a way that complements Canada’s economic recovery.  The process will include consultations with both business and labour and will consider and respect provincial proposals for pension enhancement as well as existing programs.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: Providing an opportunity for Canadians to save for their retirement is an important responsibility of government. We presently have a number of tools that enable Canadians to do this including RRSPs, TFSAs, the CPP, the OAS and the GIS. 

Some of these tools provide their benefit based on a person’s income, with the greatest impact going to those who earn the most. Others are targeted at those with little income and still others address the needs of middle class Canadians.

In examining how to reform our system and encourage people to save more for their retirement, I believe the emphasis needs to be on middle and lower income Canadians first.

I believe one of the best ways to do this is through an enhanced CPP that followsthe current model of being jointly funded by employers and employees, and whose investments are managed by an arm’s length body.

Ensuring Canadians can enjoy their retirement after a lifetime of work is the right thing to do. It also makes good economic sense. The more income retirees have, the more purchasing power they possess and the more they can support local businesses and the economy.

Mike Skinner, Conservative:   

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
The purpose of the CPP is to provide contributors and their families with modest basic earnings replacement upon the retirement, disability or death of a wage earner. 

Approximately $37.3 billion in benefits was paid to almost 5.2 million Canadians (2013–2014). These benefits are comprised of retirement pensions, disability, death, survivor and children’s benefits. Quebec operates its own comprehensive public pension plan, the Quebec Pension Plan. The 26th Actuarial Report on the CPP was tabled in Parliament in December 2013, confirming that the CPP remains financially sustainable at the current 9.9 per cent legislated contribution rate for the next 75 years. 

Old Age Security (OAS) Program
The OAS program is a non-contributory, residence-based program, financed through general tax revenues. 

The objective of the OAS program is to provide a minimum level of income to seniors aged 65 and over in recognition of the contribution that they have made to Canadian society and the economy. 

In 2013–2014, the OAS program provided $42.6 billion in benefits to 5.4 million beneficiaries.

In Budget 2012, the Government announced several initiatives for the OAS program: a proactive enrolment regime that will eliminate the need for many seniors to apply for OAS benefits as it is phased in, beginning in 2013; the voluntary deferral of the OAS pension for up to five years in exchange for a higher, actuarially-adjusted pension of up to 36 per cent by age 70, effective July 1, 2013; and a gradual increase to the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from age 65 to 67, starting in April 2023, with full implementation by January 2029. 

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
The GIS is an income-tested monthly benefit paid to OAS pensioners with little or no income other than the OAS pension. Along with the OAS pension, the GIS ensures that the overall income of eligible seniors does not fall below a specified threshold. 

The OAS program plays a critical role in keeping the income of most low-income seniors above Statistics Canada’s after-tax Low Income Cut-Offs. 

Budget 2011 enhanced the GIS by providing a top-up of up to $600 annually for the lowest-income single seniors and $840 for the lowest-income senior couples (indexed quarterly). This represents an investment of more than $300 million per year for close to 680 000 seniors across Canada, and is the largest increase
for the lowest-income GIS recipients in a quarter century. 

In addition the Government has: 

  • Increased the GIS by a total of $36 per month for unattached seniors and $58 per month for couples, in January 2006 and January 2007, representing a 7 percent increase of the monthly GIS amount over and above regular indexation; 
  • Increased the GIS earnings exemption from a maximum of $500 to $3,500, which allows GIS recipients who work to keep more of their hard-earned money (Budget 2008); and 
  • Reduced the onus on seniors by introducing automatic GIS renewal for seniors who file annual income taxes. 

 

2. The need for detailed labour market information that is important for businesses, educational institutions and communities to plan for the future. 

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I believe that valid labour market information is critical for servicing individual businesses as well as for community planning. I was so disappointed with the Conservative’s cancellation of the long form census. The census yielded essential information and data that was used to inform labour market planning. 

Calling on the government to take a science-based approach to policy development—rather than being driven by rigid ideological positions—is not political rhetoric. It is an approach that addresses the best interests of our businesses and community.

Locally, we are fortunate to be serviced by the Workforce Development Board. This organization brings together labour, business, trainers, educators and government in a collaborative effort to understand the labour needs of our community today and tomorrow. The WDB works with employers to understand the skills their employees need and to inform both trainers and potential employees about the type of education and training they ought to seek. Further, the WDB works to project these needs into the future, which helps students make informed decisions about their career path.

Assisting the development of labour market information is an important part of my local jobs plan.

Mike Skinner, Conservative:  There is a great website called Working in Canada. It provides detailed information on local labour markets – here it is for the Peterborough region. 

http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/LMI_bulletin.do?cid=3373&loc=Peterborough%2C+Ontario&AREA=8792&INDUSTRYCD=&EVENTCD=# 

Dave Nickle, NDP: The NDP believes that good data is essential to make government work. It allows government to effectively target and evaluate programs, thus, improving service quality and lowering costs.  The NDP fought tooth and nail to prevent the Conservatives from eliminating the long-form census. The NDP believes that the long-form census must be restored to provide social scientists, governments, communities and businesses the data they need. We also tabled Bill C-346 to reinstate Statistics Canada’s long-form census and increase the independence of the Chief Statistician. 

The NDP strongly supports an evidence-based approach to policy making, which requires robust support for research and data gathering.  This federal government has, however, fired thousands of scientists and cancelled the long-form census, hurting our ability to gather information. 

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Federal Candidates PBX at The Junction, October 6th from 4-6pm.  The candidates will be answering the question “What is your personal statement to the business community?”

 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
Aug262015

Provincial business priorities and the federal election

Copyright Library of ParliamentThe 2015 federal election is now into its fourth week with seven left before the polls open on October 19th.  Already we’ve seen the leaders and the parties tackle many of the issues we would expect to see at a federal level, from the economy to taxes and tax cuts to the environment to child care.  But within those issues that have nationwide impact are the issues that affect each of the provinces.  The relationship Ontario has with the federal government is different from the needs of the western and eastern provinces.  

“The federal election comes at a critical time for Ontario businesses,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). “It is essential that all parties commit to policies that will improve the business climate and spur economic growth in Ontario. By publicly evaluating the commitment of each federal party to this end, we are putting pressure on our federal politicians to demonstrate leadership and help our business community succeed.”

The OCC, Ontario’s most prominent and diverse business network, is calling on all federal political parties to make bold commitments that will improve Ontario’s business climate and drive economic growth. To that end, the OCC has released an Ontario business agenda for the federal election.  

“The central guiding principle of the report is that all intergovernmental relations, cooperation and policy harmonization should be paramount,” says O’Dette.

The report, “In Focus: Federal Priorities for the Ontario Economy”,  makes nine recommendations under four other principles:

Guiding principle: Federal policy should aim to fix the fiscal framework to enable greater reinvestment of the wealth generated in Ontario into its workforce and productivity capacity  

Ontario businesses and residents are poorly served by the federal government’s unprincipled allocation formulae in areas of major federal spending.  As a result of systemic inequities, Ontarians contribute between $9.1 and $12.5 billion more into the federation than what we get back in terms of services (Granofsky and Zon, 2014). 

Fiscal federalism has failed to keep pace with the 21st century macroeconomic realities of the country (Ibid). The federal spend to promote economic growth and development across the country should be allocated on a principled basis (OCC, 2015). 

  • Reform Canada’s broken EI system
  • Distribute economic development funds on a principled basis

Guiding principle: In all intergovernmental relations, cooperation and policy harmonization should be paramount

As Canadian provinces increasingly step into areas of traditional federal responsibility (retirement savings and environmental regulation, for example), the country’s regulatory landscape becomes more fragmented. Intergovernmental squabbling has at times exacerbated this fragmentation, to the detriment of Canada’s investment climate.  

The federal government – through its actions and its approach to intergovernmental relations – should promote policy harmonization across the country (OCC, 2015). 

  • Avoid further regulatory fragmentation by demonstrating leadership on key regulatory files
  • Provide businesses with accurate labour market data

Guiding principle: Federal policy should seek to make Canada and Ontario a global destination of choice for foreign investment

Ontario suffers from a $60 billion infrastructure gap, its share of economic immigrants to Canada has declined steeply over the past decade, and its productivity gap vis-à-vis the United States is widening (Association of Municipalities of Ontario, 2012; Ministry of Finance, 2014).  All these factors combine to weaken the business climate.  

Given the contribution Ontario’s economy makes to the broader Canadian economy, the federal government has a vested interest in the province’s economic fortunes and should act correspondingly (OCC, 2015)

  • Allocate infrastructure funds on a per capita basis
  • Ensure that the immigration system does not unduly limit employers’ access to the international talent they need

Guiding principle: Federal policy should champion Ontario’s competitive advantages

Ontario maintains a competitive advantage over our international competitors in several key sectors.  The province is rich in natural resources, our financial services sector is among the largest in North America, and our agri-food sector is primed for explosive growth as global food demand is set to double over the next 30 years. Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry has the potential to rebound – provided that Ontario can remain competitive globally.

The federal government should align resources behind -and build on- Ontario’s competitive advantages (OCC, 2015).

  • Improve the manufacturing sector’s connections to Canada and the world
  • Show a commitment to Ontario’s north

Guiding principle: The government should act in a fiscally responsible manner

While Ontarians are acutely aware of the fiscal challenges facing their provincial government, fewer understand the deteriorating fiscal capacity of the Canadian government.  The federal government spends nearly $30 billion a year on debt servicing costs. Meanwhile, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio has risen by 4 percentage points since 2007, and now stands at 33.1 percent.  While Canada is still in a relatively strong fiscal position, any deterioration in the federal government’s finances could drag on investor confidence.  

The federal government should – at a minimum – maintain Canada’s fiscal position (OCC, 2015).

  • Begin to pay down the federal debt

In the end all this to say that Ontario needs its federal government to be involved and committed to seeing the province prosper.  “A healthy Ontario economy is good for Canada,” said O’Dette. “All parties must be prepared to take the bold actions necessary to solidify a bright future for Ontario and further the economic success of our great country.”

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has sent questions on business-related issues to the candidates. The responses will be posted to the Chamber website.  The Chamber is also holding an all candidates debate on business issues Tuesday, October 6 from 4-6pm. 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.