By Stephen Fuhr
The Government has released its fall economic statement and the news is positive: Canadian economic growth has accelerated sharply, growth is becoming more balanced across sectors and regions, our net debt to GDP continues to decline and because of growing consumer confidence, local economies are thriving.
Here at home recent statistics from the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission indicate that household income has risen, labour force participation and housing starts are up, unemployment is low, more business licenses have been approved, and record breaking numbers in passenger traffic at Kelowna International continue to bring visitors to the Okanagan.
Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s latest financial report confirms that “current fiscal policy in Canada is sustainable over the long term” and relative to the size of the economy, “total government net debt is projected to remain below its current level over the long term.”
As the economic statement noted, household consumption has been the main contributor to economic growth over the past year underpinned by solid employment gains, low interest rates, improving consumer confidence and, since July 2016, the support of the Canada Child Benefit to families.
In fact, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz credited the Liberal government’s Canada Child Benefit program as a reason for the country’s strengthening economy, calling it “highly stimulative.”
In the past few months I’ve been frank in my criticism about the way the Government explained its objectives during the recent consultation on tax proposals.
But as the Minister noted in his economic statement to the House, feedback from those who attended our townhall in Kelowna and other entrepreneurs, professionals, and hardworking small business people drove him to get things right.
Our Government has responded with a set of modified tax proposals that will ensure small business owners are respected.
The Government is fulfilling its commitment to lower the tax on small business, from 11 per cent in 2015 to 9 per cent by 2019.
In addition, the Government has also announced that it will not be moving forward with proposals to limit the multiplication of the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption, which was of concern to many of our farmers and families who were planning on handing down their business to the next generation.
Finally, the Government has made amendments to its consideration of passive investment to provide business owners the flexibility afforded from savings accumulated in the corporation, while ensuring these measures are provided in a manner that does not encourage wealthy individuals to have unlimited tax assisted savings over and above the RRSP and TFSA limits available to everyone else.
The modified proposals also ensure incentives are maintained for venture capital and angel investors.
Canada’s economy is growing faster than it has in more than a decade. By investing in Canadians, the economy is thriving and Canada continues to have the best fiscal position among G7 countries.
This includes cutting taxes for 9 million middle class Canadians, introducing a new Canada Child Benefit, and strengthening the Canada Pension Plan so that future generations of workers can retire with dignity.
You have my assurance that I will continue to advocate strongly for our community and I thank all of you who have taken the time to contact me to help bring our community’s concerns to the attention of our government.
Stephen Fuhr, CD, MP Kelowna-Lake Country