CIBC CEO: Canada could be doing better to stay competitive
The chief executive officer of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is joining a chorus of high-profile voices sounding the alarm on Canada’s competitiveness, highlighting the need to improve the sentiment around economic investment in the country.
“I think we’re seen as a great brand, we’re seen as a great country. People love Canada when you talk about our country around the world. But when it comes to capital – capital sees it in a different way,” Victor Dodig told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang in an interview Tuesday.
“They see some uncertainty, they see some concerns about the longer term return on investment,” he added, noting U.S. tax reform has put Canada’s ability to compete relative to its southern neighbour in the spotlight.
“I think our corporate tax rates, our business tax rates have been really competitive – and now they’re equally competitive to the United States,” Dodig said.
“I think the one big leg up that the [U.S.] has today is they’ve put accelerated depreciation on capital investment, which has really attracted more investment to the United States,” he added. “Businesses have put more to work, more jobs are being created. And that’s being amplified by the repatriation of capital from abroad.”
Dodig’s comments come a day after Suncor CEO Steve Williams issued his own warning on global investor confidence in Canada amid the latest setback for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
In addition to bolstering investor confidence, Dodig noted the need for Canada to be mindful of potential economic disruptions such as trade negotiations and rising global interest rates.
“What we need to do as Canadians is think about how do we get past this short-term upheaval – or potentail upheaval – to build a better country for the longer term,” he said.
Dodig argued in order to do this, Canada needs to add human capital as the country increasingly moves toward a serviced-based economy, increase immigration to bring in new skills, and focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and trades in our educational institutions.
“The question is, can we do better?,” Dodig said. “And I think as a country and I think as a company within that country, we can do better.”
“We can create a better environment for business, a better environment for growth – and I think the impetus is there for us to all do that.”