The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour says the Harper government needs to stop corporate tax cuts.
Lana Payne, after speaking to a roundtable pre-budget consultation in St. John’s on Wednesday afternoon, told The Telegram corporate tax cuts are costing the Canadian economy about $13 billion a year in tax breaks.
“Our position is — and this is just the tax cuts the Conservatives have brought in; this doesn’t include billions in corporate tax cuts that were brought in by the Paul Martin Liberals and the Jean Chrétien Liberals — we’ve had about 15 years of massive cuts in corporate taxes in Canada, and we have the lowest in the industrialized world, and it’s really, really time to stop the hacking away at these corporate tax cuts, particularly when you consider that those corporations that benefit the most from the corporate tax breaks are people who just don’t need them, don’t need these breaks.
“They’re banks, and oil companies, and mining companies, and they’re doing very well, thank you very much.”
Payne said the federation would rather see tax income invested in municipal infrastructure, post-secondary education, early learning programs and child care, as well as addressing poverty in seniors.
Payne said it might seem futile to ask a Conservative majority government to end corporate tax cuts, but she said even economists — including in a recent report by BMO economist Doug Porter — are warning the federal government that its austerity plans are too deep and too fast.
“I think that this is a federal government that now is making decisions based on ideology and not what’s right for the country, and not what’s right for the economy, so in that context I think it’s incredibly frustrating,” she said. “But at the same time, I think we have to continue to do this. We have to press the case and try and get across these points of view.”
Richard Alexander, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council, made a presentation to the morning roundtable focusing on unfunded pension liabilities.
“We could be in a bad position financially as a country and have huge debt for our children’s generation if we don’t take some drastic measures in order to try and get those unfunded liabilities under control,” he said.
The roundtables where chaired by Kellie Leitch, parliamentary secretary to Diane Finley, the federal minister of human resources and skills development, at the Baine Johnston Building.