July 16, 2018
Hon. Brian Gallant,
Incoming Chair, Council of the Federation
Dear Premier Gallant:
On the eve of the 2018 Summer Meeting of the Council of the Federation, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce would like to commend you and your provincial and territorial colleagues on the solidarity you have shown with the federal government in the face of the damaging protectionist attacks on our trading system by the United States Government.
At moments like this, it is only by standing together as one country and working in the national interest that we can hope to overcome the challenges created by an unwarranted attack on our industries and the vital trade relationship between Canada and the U.S. On behalf of the Canadian Chamber, I urge you to continue working with the federal government to maintain a unified approach to this threat to the economic well-being of every Canadian family.
At the same time, the Canadian Chamber urges you, as our provincial and territorial leaders, to take further measures to address the domestic impediments that undermine our competitiveness as a country and stand in the way of greater economic growth and prosperity. As we communicated to you last July, the competitiveness of Canadian businesses is eroding. From one end of the country to the other, business owners are seeing the cost and complexity of doing business in Canada rising. While last summer’s letter stressed the importance of acting to reduce the impact of the fees, regulations, government-mandated costs and taxes on business, the issue has become even more urgent as a result of U.S. tax and regulatory reforms and of the attack on our trading relationship with our largest customer.
Given the growing uncertainty of our primary external market, the capacity for businesses within Canada to trade freely across provincial and territorial boundaries is more important than ever before. We urge you to redouble your efforts to implement the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and to take further steps to dismantle internal barriers to trade.
Except in extraordinary circumstances, there is no reason why we should have different standards for goods moving from one province or territory to the next in 2018. While we appreciate that different regulations may sometimes be needed to address local safety, health and appropriate climate considerations, these should be a last resort to be used only in exceptional cases. Barriers to the free flow of goods and services between provinces are self-inflicted wounds that penalize consumers, make our businesses less competitive and undermine economic growth.
Other barriers to economic success include a growing regulatory burden imposed by governments at all levels, in addition to a burdensome and uncompetitive tax regime. We also urge you to work together, with the Federal government, to address the regulatory load on business and to simplify and streamline Canada’s tax system to make it simpler, faster and easier for business owners to meet their obligations.
A strong country requires a strong economy, and a strong business community is the key to our prosperity. By placing competitiveness at the heart of your discussions in the coming days and by standing together to oppose both external and internal protectionism, we can build a Canada that wins, and one that benefits us all – whichever province or territory we live and work in.
Hon. Perrin Beatty,
President and CEO
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Hon. John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
Hon. Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba
Hon. Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
Hon. Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia
Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Hon. Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island
Monsieur Philippe Couillard, Premier ministre du Québec
Hon. Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan
Hon. Bob McLeod, Premier of Northwest Territories
Hon. Joe Savikataaq, Premier of Nunavut
Hon. Sandy Silver, Premier of Yukon