Finance Minister Bill Morneau has started the countdown to the federal government’s delivery of the next budget by setting the date for Feb. 27.

BNN guests weighed in on what they think the finance minister should focus on in the upcoming budget after his controversial year involving changes to small business tax and running a deficit. The budget also comes at a time when Canada faces uncertainty over trade and its economic competitiveness.


Budget preview: Why one expert is skeptical the government will help businesses

Philip Cross, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, joins BNN to give us his expectations for the federal budget.

“I think about the best you can hope for is after the disaster of last July’s announcement, that they won’t go anywhere near tax reform – they won’t touch business taxes.”

-Philip Cross, senior fellow, MacDonald-Laurier Institute 


Riocan REIT CEO concerned Canadians getting taxed into a 'disincentive to work'

RioCan REIT CEO Ed Sonshine joins BNN's Greg Bonnell for a look at what drove strong net operating income into levels unseen since 2010 in Q4 2017 and shares his latest views on Canada's housing market, and Canada's competitiveness on the global stage.

“I would like to see them stop the increase in taxation. I’m a great fan of paying taxes. That sounds odd, but I know there are services and somebody’s got to pay for them. …But when you get over 50 per cent, unintended consequences happen. ...I'd like to see a reduction, but if there's any further enhancement in some of those tax rates, I think it'd be a disaster. ”

-Ed Sonshine, CEO, RioCan REIT


Economist: Morneau needs to focus on boosting business confidence in budget

Jean-François Perrault, chief economist at Scotiabank, will be attending the economists' meeting with Finance Minister Morneau this Friday. He join BNN to talk about his take on the economy and his federal budget wishlist, which is set to be tabled on February 27th.

“I think the most important thing that we’re looking for is essentially a bit of a stay-the-course. As you know, we’re going through a period of time where there’s a bit of turbulence in the global economy, certainly as it relates to trade. … It’s an environment that lends itself to, potentially, some additional spending. And that’s something that we would look to guard against in a lot of respects.”   

- Jean-Francois Perrault, chief economist, Scotiabank


I'm nervous. Ottawa may need more time for a better tax plan in the budget: Bruce Croxon

Bruce Croxon, co-founder of Round 13 Capital, talks about what he hopes Ottawa will address in the upcoming budget. He's offered recommendations to the Finance Department about an alternative passive income proposal in order to help small businesses.

“I’m nervous because we went down [to Ottawa] a week ago Monday, not just to complain about what we anticipate will not be good news for small business people in the passive income proposal.  But we went down with a solution… an alternative to how you could do a tax plan that would benefit the country, still raise some revenue, but tie the passive income proposals to actually lay off the people who are creating jobs, and give small businesses a window where they could actually save for a rainy day or some of the things that we’re afraid are going to go away. I’m afraid that they haven’t had enough time to integrate that into the proposal that we’re going to see in two weeks.”

-Bruce Croxon, co-founder, Round 13 Capital


Why the next federal budget shouldn’t focus on ‘soft issues’

Lyle Stein, senior portfolio manager and managing director at Vestcap Investment Management, discusses the upcoming federal budget and why Finance Minister Bill Morneau shouldn’t make the focus on “soft issues.”

“We are always looking at relative economic momentum and Canada seems to be losing steam, while the U.S. is picking up steam. With that tax decrease in the States, I think the U.S. momentum is going to be even stronger. So I think focusing on the soft issues … isn’t necessarily what I think is necessary to change that delta from being against Canada.”

-Lyle Stein, senior portfolio manager and managing director, Vestcap Investment Management


Pressure has been on Morneau to cut taxes — but he's raising them: Martin Pelletier

Martin Pelletier, portfolio manager at TriVest Wealth Counsel joins BNN's Andrew Bell for his reaction to the setting of the next federal budget to Feb. 27 and the issues he believes should be tackled.

“I’d like to see some further clarity around their infrastructure program. I’d like to see some further clarity around their deficit spending. If the economy is doing as darn well like [Morneau] said it is, then why are they running a deficit? Also, around taxation, it’s been a complete gong show from the tax policies and small business. We’ve seen the most pervasive tax change in 50 years jammed into a couple of months starting at summer time. We see it with a lot of clients trying to figure out what to do ahead of tax time.”

- Martin Pelletier, portfolio manager, TriVest Wealth Counsel