Despite “a more presidential Donald Trump” during his address to Congress Tuesday night, the president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada says the country should still remain cautious amid uncertainty south of the border.
“The [Canadian government] needs to be cautious about what they do,” John Manley said in a BNN interview Wednesday, referring to the upcoming federal budget. “They can’t function as though we are somehow not highly reliant on that U.S. engine of growth for our economy, and therefore they need to keep policy tools available to deal with whatever may come down the track.”
“I think uncertainty is never a good thing,” he added.
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, the U.S. president said he wanted to boost his country’s economy by cutting corporate taxes and also that he believes in free trade, but qualified his statement by saying it needs to be “fair trade.”
Trump didn’t offer up many policy details, but Manley said his “presidential” approach to the speech should be viewed positively.
“I think that’s very important because a lot his Republican supporters both in the Senate and the House of Representatives was getting skittish about the president who was tweeting policy out of the White House in the middle of the night.”
Manley also urged that now is “not the time to be making changes to the Canadian income tax system.” He referred to a report the C.D. Howe Institute released last month, which estimated that a possible border adjustment tax could result in one-per-cent drop in Canada’s GDP.
“The battle over this [BAT] hasn’t really begun,” he said. “Keep your powder dry, [Finance Minister Bill] Morneau — you may need some of that revenue for other things.”