Senator Enverga questions Government Representative in the Senate on the decline in Canada’s competitiveness


Competitiveness—Small Business Tax Rates

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The World Competitiveness Centre recently revealed its annual rankings of the world’s most competitive economies. This year, Canada has taken quite a fall in the rankings, from fifth best country last year to tenth this year. This is Canada’s worst ranking since at least 2008.

There has been a noticeable lack of respect for entrepreneurship in this country by this Liberal government. For example, as we have seen in the recent budget, the Liberal government reneged on its election promise regarding the small business tax rate and on its election promise to give small businesses a 12-month break on EI premiums for hiring youth.

How can this government claim to have an agenda to ensure Canada’s competitiveness when it is not following through on policies that would help to do just that?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I’d like to respond in two ways to the question. First, I believe that the data that informs the survey is data for the last year, which would suggest that it is data before this government came to office.

But the more important aspect of the question is what the government is doing for Canada’s competitiveness. Later in the day, I will be pleased to speak to Bill C-15, the Budget Implementation Act, which has many initiatives with respect to competitiveness, and I’m happy to speak more completely on that subject later this afternoon. I thank the honourable senator for his ongoing interest in this important subject.