ARCHIVED – Speaking notes for the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism at a Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters event

Calgary, Alberta, January 26, 2011

As delivered

Thank you to Canada’s Manufacturers and Exporters for their good work. Thanks in particular to Standen’s and to Mel Svendsen for their hosting us today and for being an example every single day of what makes Canada work. What puts Canadians to work is the kind of small business, small and medium-size businesses like Standen’s. This is a family business around here for some 80 years. And, you know, it’s not politicians and bureaucrats who create jobs or wealth or opportunity – it’s small and medium-size businesses like this around the country. That’s why we are here today to remind ourselves of the importance of allowing those who create jobs to do just that.

Now, we all know we have gone through the biggest global economic downturn since the 1930s, when Standen’s was just getting started. Canada got through that downturn better than any other major developed economy in the world, largely thanks to the hard work and innovation of companies like this, but also thanks to a sound policy environment that our Government helped to create. As Ted mentioned, over the past five years, some 120 different tax cuts totalling over $200 billion in cumulative tax relief, bringing the federal tax burden down to its lowest level since the mid 1960s, saving the average family some $3,000, and, most importantly, helping us lead to the creation of some 460,000 net new jobs in the past 18 months alone, creating for the very first time in our post-war economic history a significant, sustainable, lower unemployment rate than in the United States.

You know, what’s most important is this, increasingly, we see that the vast majority of those new jobs being created, tens of thousands every month, are full-time jobs in the private sector, jobs in companies like this, and that’s what we are going to need to continue to grow Canada’s economy, increase jobs and raise our standard of living. Amongst those 120 tax cuts, of course, we lowered the Goods and Service Tax, the GST, from 7 to 6 to 5%. We eliminated the corporate surtax for all corporations in 2008. We lowered the small business tax rate to 11% in 2009 from 12%. We increased the cost limit for tools qualifying for the full capital cost allowance from $200 to $500. It helps a lot of independent mechanics and others who are struggling to make ends meet.

We’ve eliminated – and this is a big one – the federal capital tax in 2006, joined by many provinces of different political stripes, I should add. We have provincial governments who have joined us in trying to reduce taxes on businesses, job creators and capital taxes because they understand this is not an ideological question, it’s a question of common sense. It’s a question of practicality. If you reduce the burden on job creators, you will create more jobs. It’s very simple. Everyone should understand it.

We have extended the carry-forward periods for non-capital losses and unused investment tax credits from 10 to 20 years. We introduced the apprenticeship job creation tax credit. For so long, governments only focused on people with university degrees going into the professions and they forgot that our country was literally built by people in skilled trades, hard-working individuals going into apprenticeships, and we are supporting them.

I’ll just make one other note. In addition to all of these tax cuts and the continued reduction in the tax rate on job creators, it’s also very important that we are trying to cut red tape, the regulatory burden that governments impose on businesses, because they represent a cost. Every business like Standen’s has to hire accountants and lawyers and administrative people just to manage the burden of red tape imposed by governments. That’s why our Government has eliminated almost 80,000 red-tape requirements, and on January the 13th Prime Minister Harper launched the Red Tape Reduction Commission to find further ways to reduce the burden of red tape on Canadian businesses.

And there’s so much more we could go into that are important. We can get into it in the roundtable, but expanding Canadian trade markets over, I think nine new free trade agreements that have been ratified, several more major ones under negotiation, reducing tariffs. We’ve eliminated literally hundreds of tariffs so that manufacturers like Standen’s do not have to pay Customs Canada to bring in a machine or pieces of equipment to help improve their productivity.

In summary, friends, this is all about creating more and better jobs for Canadians. The stakes are high. The CME study that’s been released indicates something like 100,000 jobs will be created if we move forward with the tax cuts on job creators. Jack Mintz says it’s 200,000. Whether it’s 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000, each one of those jobs represents a livelihood for a Canadian family and no one, no one should put at risk the most important job of the government, which is to ensure that people are able to take care of their families, and that’s why we’re here today to reinforce the need for continued tax relief.

Thanks very much.


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