There was a very telling disconnect earlier this week between what passes for priorities inside the Ottawa bubble and the issues that really matter to Canadians. While federal leaders and backroom organizers debated the debates, Canadians were still stuck in traffic. They still worried about finding a home they could afford. They still faced the frustration of trying to be globally competitive with inadequate and aging infrastructure. These issues are critical to the quality of life of Canadians and they need to be front and centre in this election campaign.
Reducing inequalities, if well done as per the progressive Trudeau Plan, will benefit our economy; increasing inequality -- the regressive Harper or Mulcair way -- will only harm it. A strong economy, a just society, a healthy environment: why should we have to choose? If we make the right decisions, we can better achieve all of these goals, precisely because we will not have given up on any of them. Trudeau's plan for fairness to the middle class is one of those good decisions Canadians have to make, in the interest of all.
How is it that everyone seems to know someone who's paid under the table, but no one concedes to doing it? Of course, that's no surprise. Who wants to admit to putting personal gain ahead of the greater good? It costs jobs, undermines businesses that play by the rules, and deprives the government of much needed revenue for vital programs. Statistics Canada says the underground economy totalled $42.4 billion in 2012, roughly 2.3 per cent of gross domestic product, much of it occurring in the construction, finance and real estate, retail and hospitality industries.
For those who readily have an extra $4500 available every year, after they've paid their taxes, this increase would be an attractive future tax break. But is a higher limit fair to taxpayers across the board? The answer to that question depends on how many taxpayers at various wealth levels will be able to benefit from the higher contributions.
The federal budget announced recently has interesting policies that are expected to affect Canadians. Economic Action Plan 2015 has different components that may affect the lives of Canadians differently. An important aspect of the budget is that it would be balanced in 2015-16 with a projected surplus of $1.4 billion.
Small businesses across Canada are speaking up to warn the government about the economic damage that its "secret police" Bill C-51 will inflict on our economy. If Bill C-51 is passed, it will change Canada's economic climate for the worse, notably by harming Canadian commerce, trade, and data security. This upsurge in opposition from small businesses couldn't be more timely: committee hearings on the Bill are continuing today in the Senate, while the House of Commons could hold its final vote in just days.