Letter to the Editor – Cornwall Ontario and Area Chamber of Commerce Wants Harper Government to Cut Corporate Taxes – February 28, 2011

Cornwall ON – In 2007, the federal government sought the collaboration of the provinces and territories to keep Canadian industry competitive by driving down business taxes. The plan would have seen combined federal and provincial/territorial corporate income tax rates drop to about 25% by 2013, one of the lowest tax rates in the G8.


The plan is far along and it has been part of the last two federal budgets. Parliament twice voted to approve the plan, but today some Canadian politicians want to abandon it and start raising taxes again. The money, according to those politicians, can be used for government programs.


This is becoming more than just a feud among economists. If the federal budget triggers an election campaign, business taxes may be the main issue, with the parties splitting on competing visions of the role of government and business in building economic prosperity.


No one is arguing the government doesn’t do valuable things with our tax money and our social programs are but one example. But, when the issue is growing the economy and creating new jobs, most people agree that the private sector has to do the job.


Make no mistake; the economy is not out of the woods. Although we have all heard that Canada dodged the worst of the recession, we are still locked in a close relationship with the United States, which was seriously hurt, and is only now dragging its way back to health.


Last year the Canadian economy roared ahead in the early months. Fifty thousand jobs per month were created, housing starts were at an all-time high and consumers were on a buying spree. But as the year went on, the trends changed. As we finished 2010, job creation numbers had fallen to just above 5,000 a month and consumers began staying home and paying off their credit cards.


Canada’s economic recovery achieved momentum thanks to business investment geared towards boosting productivity and competitiveness. In fact, the brightest economic indicators at year’s end were the surveys showing many companies planned to invest in 2011. Almost the worst thing government could do is reverse a commitment and raise business taxes.

Government stimulus was important during the crisis, but it is not the basis of real economic growth. Sustainable growth requires the private sector investment that can generate new jobs and federal revenues to pay down the deficit. The current tax plan, which was supported by both Liberal and Conservative parliamentarians, is essential for that investment.


When larger companies have money to spend, who benefits? Usually, it is the smaller companies. Most smaller businesses don’t sell to the public; they sell to bigger businesses and that’s why they are called suppliers.  Some economists argue that tax cuts don’t always create new jobs but while that is a fair point, all economists agree that high taxes cost jobs.


This isn’t a matter for far-off Ottawa; it’s a real issue here in the Cornwall region. Try as the politicians might to spin the issue, it is still clear — money sent to Ottawa isn’t creating jobs and growth here. We need to stick with the tax reduction plan and leave our money here in the community.


Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

Best Western Cornwall



  1. Author

    I agree with “those politicians”. When people are struggling, especially for small business in Cornwall and the area; we need to have funds to support services and find solutions to get more dollars into consumers hands instead of offshore accounts of large corporations.

    Let’s stop pumping dollars into oil companies, banks, failed car companies, and aiding China who can afford to buy Canada outright, and more into people’s hands.

    I personally do not like organizations like a Chamber being political in this nature. I personally; as a member would rather see our Chamber focus more in helping Business in Cornwall than focusing on areas like this.

    Jamie Gilcig
    Seaway Media

  2. The mandate of the Chamber of Commerce, while working for the local economy, is to work for better legislation at the Federal, Provincial and Municipal levels of government – if these Legislatures are functioning properly the local business community will be flying high…creating opportunities for making jobs available to the private sector will only help the economy – PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS only create more taxes for the public to swallow…reduce taxes at the corporate level – high more people because of these reduced taxes and PROBLEM SOLVED.

  3. Author

    Mr. Gunn, I have no problem with what you have just stated, but shouldn’t there be some sort of actual consulting with membership before issuing such positions publicly via Letter to the Editor? Who is the signatory of this letter exactly? Is it the board? Is it the President? Is it the managing director? Could you imagine belonging to an organization and any sort of statement is published in this manner that takes such a strong and in some perspective partisan position?

    There is a chamber meeting with the public I believe this week? Wouldn’t it have been better to discuss or debate this with membership before sending this out for all of Canada to read? There are I believe 700+ members of our Chamber? Is this what the majority of them support?

  4. Jamie ~~~
    The Chamber of Commerce, like most other organizations (as well as governments) elect a Board of Directors annually to carry on the work of the organization – In this particular case, the Board was canvassed as to their thoughts and opinions, and the word was to send the message and this was released to the media – it was authorized and signed by THE BOARD of DIRECTORS – You and I are both members of the CHAMBER – I’m a happy member while you appear not to ne – I would not belong to an organization I could not support – what about you?

  5. Author

    Mr. Gunn, my happiness or otherwise ins’t the issue here. As to your statement, if a member isn’t happy about any facet of an organization there are processes short of leaving. For example, questions can be asked; people can be engaged. Usually this process makes for a stronger organization.

    Do you as a director of the Chamber have issue with this? It seems so as this isn’t the first time you’ve inferred that I shouldn’t be a member?

  6. The Chamber is being political. The Chamber letter sounds like a polite version of the new attack ads now being aired by the Conservatives. A recent report by the Canada’s Office of the Budget, which was put in place by this government, found that corporate tax cuts was one of the poorest ways to stimuate the economy. The Federal Government used to be in a surplus position and they are now in the biggest deficit position ever and they still want to lower corporate taxes. What was good policy in 2007 no longer is and thus it can and should be changed. Corporate Canada has never been more profitable. I don’t remember the Chamber ever putting out a letter of this type?

  7. Author

    This letter is essentially a hand out from Perrin Beatty of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. In principal there’s nothing wrong; but I agree Jerry; that it’s very political. I also feel a bit disappointed that our own Chamber can’t formulate their own positions via consulting with its very large membership.

    It was not sanctioned or sent out by every Chamber in Canada because I don’t think its the position of most Canadians or Canadian business.

    There are some good people on the Chamber Executive. There are some great business people within the Chamber membership. It’s time perhaps for this organization to be more accountable and perhaps focus on local issues before expanding its scope to the National scene.

    There are real business issues facing our members; whether they be small mom and pop shops or bigger outfits.

    Just my opinion; hope this doesn’t turn into the fourth attempt to have me removed as a member in 12 months….

    There’s a real need in our area to support and help business in our vicinity. There are things we can and probably should be doing to work more together.

  8. Seems to me that most members and executives of Canadian Chambers of commerce would come from the right side of the political spectrum. Although they aren’t supposed to be political organizations, people involved in them tend to be political animals, and usually from the right.

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