'I'd also be willing to pay a little more on my income tax, and even a boost in corporate taxes might be palatable for the short term.' - CEO Chad Ulansky.
Toronto (30 March 2010) - Even Canadian corporate executives are admitting that Ottawa may have to reform the tax system in order to support social programs that improve quality of life and to tackle the deficits being run up by the Harper Conservatives.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that nearly three out of five senior executives who responded to a recent C-Suite Survey, conducted by the Gandalf Group, agreed that tax reform — measures to boost some taxes and restore fairness to the system — may be unavoidable in the years ahead.
While most CEOs, not surprisingly, would prefer it to be an increase in the GST, which consumers pay, as opposed to an income tax increase, which would affect upper earners the most, there was a general feeling that action of some sort is required to adequately finance social programs and deal with the federal deficit.
A total of 151 executives participated in the survey, named C-Suite because all were "chief officers" of major companies who, as a group, share more or less equal levels of authority in the Canadian corporate world.
While they were nearly unanimous in agreeing that the recession has ended and that economic growth has resumed, more than half did not believe that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty could keep his promise to balance the federal budget again within five years.
Ottawa is on target for a deficit of more than $50 billion this year, by far the biggest deficit ever in Canadian history. At the same time, the finance minister has been telling Canadians that the government will not cut the key social programs that support families like health care, education, social services and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
Chad Ulansky, CEO of Metalex Ventures Ltd., a diamond exploration firm based in Kelowna, B.C., said it would be in the country's best interest to raise taxes for certain groups in the next few years.
In addition to an increase in the GST, Ulansky said: "I'd also be willing to pay a little more on my income tax, and even a boost in corporate taxes might be palatable for the short term."
"If we could somehow have consensus around the country for a bit of higher taxes for the next five or 10 years, we'll be a far stronger country on the other side of it," added Ulansky.
Canada can't afford more corporate tax breaks: Ignatieff
The survey results came on the heels of an announcement by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff that the federal corporate tax cuts planned by the Harper government should be cancelled and the revenue should be used to finance social and environmental programs.
"We should not rush ahead with further reductions to corporate taxes," Ignatieff told 300 participants at a policy conference in Montreal on the weekend. "We should use those financial resources to fund existing and new social programs for all Canadians," he said.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE