(OTTAWA) The Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, made the following statement regarding Canada’s poor GDP results:
“We may have seen the impact of Canadian businesses reaching their limit with Canada’s broken regulatory and taxation systems: they’ve closed their wallets.
Dig a little deeper into today’s data, and the slowing of GDP in the fourth quarter was largely driven by a 2.7% drop in investment spending. This is consistent with what we’ve heard from our members across the country: there’s too much economic, regulatory, and political uncertainty to make investments in Canada right now. Canadians businesses are keeping their money in their wallet until Canada gives them a reason to invest.
Sadly, the story is different for the small businesses south of the border. The U.S. GDP numbers released on Wednesday exceeded expectations by growing 2.6% in Q4 compared to Canada’s disappointing 0.1% growth. In 2018 as a whole, the U.S. economy grew 3.1%, while the Canadian economy sputtered at a lower than projected 1.8% growth.
We see a stark contrast in business investment between the two economies. In the United States, non-residential business investment accelerated to a 6.2% gain, while overall business investment in Canada fell in spite of the federal government’s efforts to kick-start investment in November’s Fall Economic Statement.
We need policies that return Canada to a place where it makes sense to start and grow a business, and make investments. This is existential when our immediate competition next door has a much more attractive business environment. Fixing our broken regulatory and tax systems are no longer nice haves, but must haves. What more proof do we need to finally take action?”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.