'The government has to consider business': Paul Tellier on Canada's economy
A former chief executive of Canadian National Railway Co. and Bombardier Inc. is taking aim at the federal government’s approach in dealing with the business community, urging Ottawa to be more sensitive to the needs of corporate leaders in the country.
“We have lost our tax advantage vis-à-vis the U.S.,” Paul Tellier, who also served as deputy minister of energy, mines and resources under Jean Chretien, told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman in an interview.
“We used to have a significant tax advantage in terms of corporate taxes. There was a tax adjustment in 2007, but nothing has been done since. This is something that worries me.”
Tellier acknowledged Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Monday announcement to move ahead with a personal income tax cut for middle class income earners, but noted it doesn’t do anything to address business taxes.
“I’ve got a concern about that,” he said.
The corporate titan, who served as Bombardier’s CEO from 2003 to 2004 and headed CN from 1992 to 2002, also expressed concerns about the country’s economy, pointing to high household debt levels and global trade tensions such as the U.S.-China trade war as risks, despite a strong housing market and a relatively robust labour market.
“This country is lagging behind,” he said.
Tellier added he was “disappointed” about the Trudeau government’s Throne Speech last week for its lack of focus on business or Western alienation.
“I would like to see more sensitivity to the business community,” Tellier said, pointing to Bill C-69, the legislation that overhauls how major infrastructure projects such as pipelines and reviewed and approved in the country.
“I think there are ways to make sure the people on the other side of the table are listened to,” he said. “The business community should perceive that there are some people in the government [who are] sensitive to their point of view.”