Forbes magazine stated recently that Canada was the best place in the world to do business. As a proud member of the Harper Government, I appreciate that a large part of that honour is due to the character of Canada’s small business entrepreneurs: hard working, passionate, determined, and courageous.
Small business is a big deal in Elgin-Middlesex-London and in Canada. Canadian entrepreneurs work hard creating jobs and growth in communities right across Elgin-Middlesex-London and the country. In order to create the best business environment possible for entrepreneurs, the Harper Government is focused on the economy: keeping taxes low, cutting unnecessary government red tape, promoting Canadian exports in new markets and supporting our entrepreneurs.
With a small business tax rate reduced down to 11 per cent and a corporate tax rate recently reduced down to 15 per cent this year, Canada now stands as the most tax-competitive country among developed G-7 countries according to a recent report by the School of Public Policy. Our government also understands that as we work toward a return to balanced budgets over the medium term, we will do so without raising taxes or cutting transfers to Canadians or the provinces.
Many Canadian small business entrepreneurs, 30 000 Canada-wide in fact, export their products and services to markets around the world. Our Government’s ambitious trade plan is deepening our trade relationships with high-growth markets. Since 2007, our efforts have lead to the signing of nine new trade agreements and twelve new foreign investment promotion and protection agreements including one most recently with China. Toward the end of the year, we are looking forward to completing a trade agreement with the European Union, reducing tariffs to a market of 500 million consumers.
Building on these successes, our Government launched the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan this fall to cut unnecessary red tape in order to save entrepreneurs time and money. The plan is ambitious and includes 90 department-specific reforms – common sense solutions to business irritants in areas ranging from tax and payroll, to labour, transport and trade. This builds on our actions taken in Economic Action Plan 2012 to help employers make new hires with the extension of the temporary Hiring Benefit for Small Businesses while limiting Employment Insurance rate increases. We also introduced the Pooled Registered Pension Plan providing small business entrepreneurs with a framework to provide pensions to employees at a lower cost.
These initiatives demonstrate the Harper Government’s commitment to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. The last thing Canadians and entrepreneurs need is the NDP’s $21 billion carbon tax promoted by leader Thomas Mulcair that will raise the price on everything including electricity, gas and groceries.
On behalf of the Harper Government, Happy BDC Small Business Week 2012!
Joe Preston Member of Parliament Elgin-Middlesex-London