Pierre Poilievre: Memo to Corporate Canada – Fire your lobbyist. Ignore politicians. Go to the People – Canadian energy news, top headlines, commentaries, features and events

Originally published in the National Post

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Business leaders continue to befriend liberals who oppose high taxes

“Madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

– A wise man

The Trudeau government’s tax hike on capital gains is causing investors and business executives to blow up my phone.

They shout, “What are you going to do about this?”

My answer: “No. What are you is going to do anything about it?”

Most are stunned by the question. They intended to do nothing but complain and hope that their useless and overpaid lobbyists would meet with Chrystia Freeland or Justin Trudeau to talk some sense into them, while the opposition hounds the government to change course.


That is not enough.

Businesses and entrepreneurs are once again under attack because Trudeau has learned they won’t do anything about it. Why would Trudeau listen to business? He knows he has raised corporate payroll and energy taxes, attacked the resources sector with unconstitutional laws, and faced no consequences from the business community.

He killed TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline by changing the rules, adding delays and complicating the process. He later killed the proposed $20 billion Teck Frontier Mine by telling the company its application would likely be rejected by Cabinet, despite having the support of affected First Nations and the Independent Environmental Assessment Agency.

In both cases, the companies’ cowardly managers agreed to take the blame. TransCanada said it voluntarily canceled its own project after spending $1 billion due to vague “changed circumstances.” Trudeau made the absurd claim that the company decided to retire the 50-year asset because of a drop in the daily oil price – but no one in the company had the courage to correct the public data.

Similarly, Teck Resources lied when it said Canada’s climate change debate was the reason it abandoned the project after spending millions — and just days before a final Cabinet decision — allowing Trudeau to avoid blame again. (Presumably, Teck will no longer invest in countries that are debating climate policy.)

Just last month, Beer Canada thanked the Liberals for raising excise taxes by just two per cent, as the industry was relieved that Trudeau’s tax and spending government had not raised taxes even higher.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) once presented an award to Trudeau’s then-finance minister for allowing companies T4s electronic (wow, big deal!) just a few weeks after the Liberal government unleashed a vicious tax attack on small private business’ passive investments and household income sharing in the fall of 2017.

Recently, the Business Council of Alberta held a major event to suck up to the federal Liberals, who have destroyed two major pipelines, violated the constitution with their anti-resources bill C-69 and imposed a hated carbon tax on small businesses without any discount. for more than five years. All Alberta businesses must cancel their membership and stop giving money to the Business Council, and small businesses must stop supporting the CFIB.

Soaking up politicians who are anti-resources, high taxes, and big government has and will lead to more anti-resources, high taxes, and big government. Politicians respond to political incentives. If there is no political price to pay for a bad decision, expect more bad decisions. If there is no political benefit from good decisions, don’t expect good decisions.

At most, the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business hold pointless lunches and meetings and write op-eds or record interviews that almost no one sees. As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I refuse to meet with the above groups. They tell me what I already know.

Trudeau knows it too. That’s why it’s a waste of time to tell him that his latest tax increase will hurt wages, productivity and employment. It’s like telling a pyromaniac that fire is dangerous: he doesn’t care.

The only area where a business lobby has borne fruit is the rotten fruits of unnecessary benefits, privileges and protection by the state. Unfortunately, this is something that Justin Trudeau is more than willing to allow because it is consistent with his big government ideology, even if it means lower wages, higher prices for working-class Canadians, and more unjust wealth inequality.

In some cases, corporate lobbyists even work against their company’s interests to curry favor with the Liberal government and secure future career gigs for themselves. Their CEOs usually don’t notice because they don’t know anything about politics, so they delegate it to their government relations, like they might delegate advertising to the vice president of marketing. The difference is that the lobbyist often does not share the interests of the company, its employees, consumers or shareholders. A good solution would be to fire these lobbyists, stop talking to politicians and start trying to win popular support.

If you want to stop Trudeau’s latest tax hikes, don’t talk about them to politicians, talk to the people. If the tax increase will force doctors to leave Canada, medical associations should make sure every patient knows that. If your factory has to forego expansion because Trudeau is taxing investments, gather all your employees in the hall and tell them so. If his tax on venture capitalists makes it impossible for engineers to stay in Canada, make sure students (and their parents) in Kitchener-Waterloo know about it.

It is clear that my future government will do the exact opposite of Trudeau on almost every issue. But that doesn’t mean companies get their way. In fact, they will get nothing from me unless they convince the people first. So here’s a guide to dealing with a Poilievre government.

If you have a policy proposal, don’t tell me about it. Convince Canadians it’s good for them. Communicate the benefits of your policy directly to employees, consumers and retirees. If they start telling me about your ideas on my doorstep in Windsor, St. John’s, Trois-Rivières and Port Alberni, then I will think about implementing it.

To be clear, that won’t happen because you testify in a parliamentary committee, organize a “Hill Day” to meet with MPs and Senators, hold a luncheon 15 minutes from downtown Toronto/Ottawa, or use media that no one sees. Your communications should reach truck drivers, waitresses, nurses, carpenters – all the people who are too productive to tune into the aforementioned platforms.

If I continue your policy, I expect you will continue to advocate for it to those same Canadians in those same neighborhoods until the policy is fully implemented.

Canadian business once played a useful role in political debate. In 1988, free trade with the US was on its way to defeat, with only 38 percent of Canadians supporting free trade and 42 percent opposing it. So the business community campaigned aggressively to show Canadians that slamming the door on trade was risky and that the deal would mean better wages and prices. Support for free trade rose to 49 percent in favor, compared to 36 percent against. So free trade arose. Wages and living standards rose. Inflation remained low for decades. Not because companies in Ottawa hired more lobbyists, but because it brought people’s attention.

Do you want to stop the latest tax increase? Or cut out the bureaucracy to build houses, mines, factories, pipelines and more? Then cancel your lunch meeting at the Rideau Club. Fire your lobbyist. And go to the people.

Pierre Poilievre is leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

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