A poll by the Business Council of British Columbia, released last week, showed that the biggest issue for the province’s large private-sector employers was the need for a major overhaul of Canada’s taxation system. The notion of a more competitive tax structure was high on the political agenda as recently as last year, when U.S. President Donald Trump brought in his sweeping tax cuts. Yet, it wasn’t even on the radar screen in the campaign.
The second-most pressing concern in the survey – improving Canada’s innovation and productivity – has similarly had little visibility in the campaign. The third priority of B.C.’s business leaders was increased infrastructure investment – something one of the two leading parties vying to form the next government, the Conservatives, has actually vowed to cut.
“I think there’s a real disconnect between what the people running for office feel the voters want to talk about and hear about, and the thinking of leaders in the corporate boardroom. I think they’re really on different pages at the moment,” says Jock Finlayson, the Business Council’s executive vice-president and chief policy officer.
“They’re talking about almost everything other than how we grow the economic pie. It’s a little bit puzzling.”