December 4, 2015 – The agenda presented by the government in the December 4, 2015 Throne Speech is ambitious, but it is only possible with a growing economy and a strong private sector.
“We appreciate the vision and commitment to working with other levels of government presented today during the Throne Speech, but we would have liked to see a stronger emphasis on the challenges faced by Canadian business,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Only by creating the conditions business needs to succeed can the government hope to generate the revenue necessary to put in place many of its promises.
“The best way to help middle class Canadians is to ensure a strong and healthy economy. It is the cornerstone for every other objective laid out in the Throne Speech. Governments at all levels must remember that social programs and quality of life are directly linked to a country’s economic performance,” explained Mr. Beatty.
The Chamber encourages the government to move quickly on priorities like the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the approval of key trade-enabling infrastructure and new measures to encourage innovative entrepreneurship.
During the electoral campaign, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce had presented a platform of priorities for the business community, A Canada That Wins. This platform outlined four key pillars: access to markets, access to a powerful workforce, access to capital and access to technology and innovation. None of these priority sectors were mentioned in the Throne Speech.
“We look forward to working with the government on the implementation of their agenda, but the first priority needs to be restoring economic growth,” said Mr. Beatty.
The Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the Liberal Party’s commitment to three policy areas on which its 2015 election platform was built.
The Government reiterated its belief that a strong middle class is necessary for good economic growth. As such, the Government pledged to deliver as its first priority a tax cut for the middle class. The Government also reaffirmed its plan to make enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan and strengthen the Employment Insurance system. Those measures will require collaboration with provinces, territories and municipalities – a reality on which the Throne Speech provided little detail beyond a pledge of cooperative spirit.
Open and Transparent Government
A large element of the Government’s current brand lies in its public commitment to democratic reform. The Throne Speech highlighted the Government’s intention to undertake consultations on electoral reform (aimed at legislating a new electoral system prior to Election 2019), to reform the Senate appointment process in a manner that aims to make it less partisan and to mandate more free votes and more independent Parliamentary Committees.
The Throne Speech states that the Government will treat a strong economy and a healthy environment as two sides of the same coin. The Government pledged to provide leadership for the movement to put a price on carbon, without indicating a policy direction. Moreover, the Government will seek to encourage economic growth in the clean technology sector by “strategically investing” in a variety of renewable industries. Lastly, the Government plans to reform the environmental review process.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at www.Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.