Focusing on Canadian economy should be the top priority of every Canadian government. Canada has a highly developed market economy which is the 9th largest GDP by nominal and 15th largest GDP by PPP in the world. Service industry is one of the main sectors of our economy which employs almost three quarters of Canadians. Canada has the world’s third largest oil reserves and is the fourth largest exporter of petroleum and natural gas. Manufacturing sector based in Central Canada is another important segment of our economy with the automobile and aircraft industry being especially important.
The future economic strength of Canada depends upon the business growth. Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the global economy is slow, and the economic risks are increasing. Because the financial markets are volatile, the competitive pressures have increased. The rapid technological advances are changing the expectations of the customers; however, with the growth of the middle class, the new opportunities will arise. Due to increasing need of energy and infrastructure, aging population, and focus on healthcare, the Canadian businesses are well-positioned to take the advantage of our technology and rich resources. Governments must play a strong role to develop a policy environment in which the business growth can take place in many ways.
For last several years, the annual growth in Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) has been very slow. Residents of our energy dependent provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland are going through difficult times.
Centrist Party strongly believes that a holistic approach and number of policy changes are indispensable to promote economic growth. Some of these strategies are discussed here.
Making Canada a hub of innovation and technology:
Any advanced economy needs to develop and apply the advanced technologies; therefore, investing in innovation is an important part of our domestic business sector. We need to invest to strengthen our research base, and develop and network of research centers, as well as universities working in collaboration with private sector. A highly qualified workforce and dynamic start-up ecosystems can help involvement of new technology, which will translate into business growth and economic prosperity. To make Canada a global leader in innovation, we need to connect our businesses to broadband infrastructure, both in Canada and globally. We need to decrease the risks involved in adapting and commercialization of new technologies and to facilitate access of the customers, as well as capital and talent. Ensuring strong intellectual property regimes will encourage our business and innovation growth. Government programs supporting innovation should meet the practical needs of businesses – the government need to help the businesses to attract the talent to become global innovators.
Attracting business Investments
Private investment is an important factor without which a stronger economic growth is not possible. Unfortunately, due to multiple factors our private-capital base is shrinking gradually despite a softer loonie that makes Canadian businesses more competitive in North America.
Due to increased governmental intervention, our business climate is not attractive for investors anymore. In addition to oil and gas sector, our business investments have gone down in many other sectors. Direct foreign investments have also significantly decreased. Whenever the government increases taxes or borrows additional dollars, businesses and individuals are not able to save and spend money. We need to develop policies which can make Canada the best location for the businesses to invest, employ, and grow. Therefore, we need an internationally competitive system of business taxation, which encourages entrepreneurship.
Amongst all the OECD countries, Canada’s combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate is the one of the highest. A gradual reduction would help businesses to keep more profit, leading to more investments. This will make more dollars available to businesses, which will go into investments.
Capital gains tax not only lowers overall investments by reducing the return on investment, but also negatively affects the allocation of capital to its most productive uses. Decreasing the personal capital gains tax would encourage people to save more, leading to increased investments. Although, it will cause loss of government revenue, but it will lead to more investment and hence benefit our economy.
Business subsidies, bailing out of companies, conditional loan guarantees provided by the federal government favor some sectors with taxpayers’ dollars. These programs unfairly support some companies over the others. Lowering taxes for all businesses is a better approach than taking billions of dollars from the private sector and redistributing them through subsidies.
We need government programs which provide incentive for the business growth and investments – this needs significant changes in small-business tax rules. We need improvement in federal regulatory management and expedite the approval process for energy and infrastructure projects in collaboration with our provincial governments. Our government needs to review the business taxation system and compare it with other advanced economies, such as United States to make sure that our tax system remains internationally competitive. The growth potential of our businesses not only depends upon best domestic policy environment, but also on our access to business opportunities across North America and globally, as our businesses are part of a network of trade and travel since the North America Free Trade Agreement came into effect. We have also need to improve the efficiency of our external and internal borders to ensure their security and to remove any unnecessary regulatory obstacles to the business investments. Working in collaboration with our business allies in the United States and Mexico to develop new opportunities for business growth we need to use multilateral trade strategies to highlight our strength in North American market, as well as around the world.
Improving our manufacturing and service industry
Loss of automotive manufacturing plants In Ontario has not only caused significant negative impact on our economy but also loss of employment and jobs. Our exports, manufacturing and service industry has also suffered significantly in recent years. To increase our productivity, we need to invest more in efficient production processes, machinery, and equipment as well as in innovation, research, and development. Increase in productivity helps to create more jobs.
Ongoing training of Workforce:
Beside other factors, the skilled labour force i.e., the availability of workers with knowledge and skills is the foundation for any country’s economic growth. Due to an aging population, Canada is experiencing a rapid slowing in the growth of labour force from almost 1.5 percent annually about a decade ago, to below 1 percent annually, today. This can be offset by higher levels of skilled immigration and continuously improving knowledge and skills of the workers.
The successful business growth depends on the competencies of the employees, and therefore, strong workforce policies are essential to acquire the skill set needed to compete at the international level. Business growth depends on communication, teamwork, problem-solving, accountability and engagement in addition to the commitment of the workforce. Some of these strategies need providing easy access to labor market information, facilitating lifelong learning opportunities in basic science, engineering, and business education, as well as promoting diversity and inclusion in workplace with more job opportunities for indigenous people, women, and the recent immigrants. This can attract talent from all around the world to enter into workforce of Canadian business market.
Building Alberta as Global Energy Capital
Climate change is a global problem and a threat to our planet. Coal has one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the high GHG emissions from coal plants, thousands of coal plants are operating globally and many more are being built every year. Currently, the renewable sources of energy are not sustainable at the global level. Although desirable, but complete transition to renewable will occur only gradually and may take many more decades. Canadian natural gas has much less greenhouse gas emission than coal and other sources of energy. Natural gas is a bridge fuel until renewable sources become sustainable. Canadian natural gas is well positioned to replace the coal-based energy plants around the world. Centrist government will prioritize the export of our natural gas to the countries which need it for energy source. This will not only lower the global GHG emissions but also improve our GDP and employment in Canada.
Canadian oil is one of the biggest exports of Canada and Alberta oil sands is the third largest oil reserve in the world. Canada also has one of the largest natural gas reserves. Therefore, Canada is one of the world’s top oil and gas producers. We exported 4.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas and 3.7 million barrels per day of oil in 2020, most of which was exported to the United States. Alberta oil sands have almost 52% of global oil open to free-market investment, not controlled by national government.
Expanding LNG in British Columbia could add more than 96,000 jobs yearly across Canada between 2020 to 2064. If supplied, natural gas from the LNG Canada project could reduce GHG emissions in China equivalent to shutting down of almost 40 coal fired plants. Almost 30% of the source of energy in the world is still coal, used in many countries like China & India. Recently and by 2020 there were almost 350 more coal fired plants under construction around the world, out of which 184 were in China, 52 were in India, 13 in Japan and 7 in South Korea. Canadian natural gas is well suited to replace the coal fired plants in the first stage, as a complete transition to renewable source can only be gradual.
The energy sector of Canada contributed about 10.6% to Canada ‘s GDP in 2018 which amounts to almost $221 billion from oil, gas, electricity and indirect supporting activities. Canadian oil and gas sector supports almost 500,000 direct and indirect jobs across Canada. Canadian oil and gas sector has contributed almost 490 billion in government revenues between 2000 – 2018.
Canadian oil and gas industry employs more indigenous people by proportion than any other sector. Oil sand producers spent $2.4 billion in 2019 and between 2012 and 2019, almost $15 billion with indigenous owned businesses. Indigenous communities are increasingly becoming partners in Canadian oil and gas development. Indigenous people employed in Canadian oil and gas have much higher median income than other industries. In 2017 two first nations acquired 49% ownership in Suncor Energy’s east tank Farm for $545 million, one of the largest business investments by a First Nations entity in Canada.
Canada has one of the best E.S.G. ratings among the world’s top 20 oil producers. Canadian oil and gas industries spend more on clean-tech than all other sectors combined. In 2016, out of $2 billion total spent on clean-tech, Canadian oil and gas industries spent $1.45 billions. In 2019 Canadian pipelines delivered more than 1.7 billion barrels of cure oil and more than 5.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas safely. Of the total water used by Alberta oil and gas industry in 2019, more than 80% was recycled water. Canadian oil and gas producers reduced GHG emissions intensity by 20% between 2009 and 2018 and they continue to reduce it further.
Climate Change is a global problem and needs global solution. Countries other than Canada are responsible for more than 98% of GHG emissions globally. At a global level the GHG emissions of Canada are only 1.6%, whereas GHG emissions of China are 28%, USA are 15%, India are 7%, and Russia are 5%. According to findings of new research China alone now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world’s developed nations. China’s emissions of six heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, increased to 14.09 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in 2019, edging out the total of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members by about 30 million tons. Therefore, without joint efforts from big polluting nations, Canada alone can’t make a meaningful impact.
Most Canadian politicians continue targeting Alberta’s oil and gas industry only for political point scoring. They demand to shut down the Canadian oil and gas industry with statements like “Oil is dead”. What is the alternative to the Canadian oil and gas industry, more oil by Saudi Arabia, Nigeria & other oil producing nations?
Canadian oil is produced under much tighter environmental regulations than many other nations. If Canada shuts down its oil and gas industry, China can replace it only within few weeks! Shutting down our own oil and gas industry will make us dependent upon 100% import of oil & make other oil producing nations increase oil production leading to more GHG emissions globally.
All main political parties want to punish Canadians with carbon tax for the problem created by other nations. Conservative Party also proposed Carbon tax, which is indeed worse than carbon tax proposed by the Liberal party, since we will not be allowed to use our own money the way we want it. Conservative Party Carbon tax is only to attract Eastern Canada voters and compete with Liberal Party for votes, not for climate change. Alberta always supported Conservative Party, but Conservatives have always back stabbed Alberta. It was Harper Conservative Government, which devised current equalization formula to favor Quebec at the cost of Alberta to win seats in federal election.
Conservative Party carbon tax is a blow to already suffering economy of Alberta, and it will further destroy the oil and gas industry of Alberta which is much cleaner compared to oil industry of any other countries. Canadian Political parties engaged in propaganda against our natural resources, are working on the same agenda as foreign oil producing nations. If you are true patriotic Canadians, you should ask Conservative party this question, do you really care for Alberta?
Since Alberta has the potential to be the energy capital of the world, the Centrist government will develop its energy industry to its full potential with the most responsible climate action plan. Supporting our energy industry while investing in renewable energy sources, shifting energy consumption towards the new sources, and increasing energy efficiency in buildings, and vehicles is important.
Agri-Food Sector Development
Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector has the potential of contributing about 7% to our GDP. Canada is the fifth largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products in the world. According to the United Nations the world food production must be increased by at least 50% to meet the global demand by 2050. We can increase the productivity of our agricultural sector by growing more profitable crops. The Centrist Government’s will develop policies which will support innovation and business development in our agri-food sector and increase our exports to the international markets. We will not only develop a trade infrastructure enabling the Canadian agri-food businesses to get these products to the markets efficiently and safely but will also help maintaining high quality standards. We will also eliminate the un-necessary regulatory processes which hinder the growth of our agri-food sector.
Increasing our Exports
Since our local and regional economies are too small, our business growth depends upon exports. This requires an efficient logistic system to ensure the speed by which the Canadian companies can provide products to international customers and reliability of our international supply chain. With our increasing trade between Canada and the European Union, as well as countries such as Japan, South Korea, China and other Asian countries, our logistic infrastructure needs to be modernized to have a smooth functioning. This can further be helped by building the gateways and the corridors to make long-term improvements in our trade infrastructure. The Centrist government will help to adopt comprehensive approach to increase the efficiency of our transportation system, policies, regulations, labor force, and remove inter-provincial barriers to trade within Canada.
Removing unnecessary regulatory processes
Unnecessary and inefficient regulations impact our abilities to achieve the economic growth. A number of policy changes such as eliminating internal barriers to trade and investment and pursuing more open trade and investment can support our economy. The elimination of such barriers could add billions of dollars to our GDP by freeing the trade and commerce within our internal market. The Canada Free Trade Agreement signed in 2017 between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments is an opportunity for creating a single Canadian market; however, adapting best practices in regulatory management and alignment to adopt a more standardized approach is needed. This requires identification of the regulatory differences between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments which interfere with domestic trade and developing the processes for mutual recognition of standards. The Centrist government will focus on regulatory alignment which will help in solving significant problems in transportation and environment resulting in positive impact on inter-provincial trade and growth.
Supporting small and medium size enterprises
Our economic prospects depend on the growth potential of small and the medium-sized businesses which account for almost 99% of all businesses and about 70% of private-sector jobs. Unfortunately, they only contribute 25% to our Goods and Services export and less than 30% of our GDP. Scaling up our small and the medium-sized business into large globally competitive enterprises would help growth of our economy since we have only a few currently existing global enterprises. We need to review our tax policies which encourage the entrepreneurship and business investments, as well as develop regulatory policies which can help small businesses by making compliance easy and low cost. This requires connecting the small and the medium-sized businesses with domestic and the international business opportunities. The Centrist government will develop procurement policies which support innovative Canadian companies and small businesses. We will increase involvement of representatives from the small and the medium-sized enterprises in consultation process to advice the government on improving policies which can support the small and the medium-sized business’s growth.
Increasing the business opportunities for the indigenous people:
Supporting the entrepreneurship has an important role in the economic and social well-being of the indigenous communities. The economic benefits from greater involvement of indigenous people in entrepreneurship are shared by all Canadians. The growth of the indigenous businesses may be supported by a better tax and regulatory environment, creating new business opportunities, and programs which allow access to the capital. Facilitating access to vocational education, skills, as well as training can lead to increase employment. The Centrist government will work with the indigenous people to support their economic and social self-determination. Furthermore, business development assistance, mentorship, and coaching programs will be made available.
Making Canada the leader in green resources and technologies:
Having an advanced manufacturing economy, we can combine our capabilities and the resources to produce cleaner and greener technologies needed globally in the future. The development and the application of the new technologies is vital to meet our own carbon emission targets, while sustaining our economic growth. Our resource extraction and processing industries are the world’s cleanest producers of energy. For helping our green technologies to grow we need timely and efficient regulatory review and approval process in addition to minimizing the compliance cost. The Centrist government will ensure the access of our resources to the international market and connect our resource extraction industries to the companies around the world. We will provide incentives to the Canadian technology companies, which are able to do business with the global resource and engineering companies. The Centrist government will facilitate the connection between the technology and processing companies that could adapt the advanced technologies and integrate them into the supply chain to take them to the international market.
Pharmaceutical Industry and Vaccine development
Our capacity to manufacture vaccines and essential medications need to be increased. Ignoring our vaccine producing facilities by the previous Conservative governments cost us a big price during the pandemic of Covid19. Having state of the art vaccine facilities on Canadian soil will not only make us independent in times of pandemic but also, we will provide this to the world.