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Rick Peterson is an Edmonton businessman and a Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate.
The Trump years have not been kind to Canada.
Canada has fallen behind the Americans in terms of our living standards and economic growth. We were forced into a NAFTA renegotiation that bound us even closer to the US and reduced trade opportunities elsewhere. Our Prime Minister has a shaky relationship with President Trump himself and our influence in Washington is likewise on the wane.
The era of Lester Pearson had an outsized role for Canada on the global stage feels very far away. Because it is.
Some will say that this is all we can hope for when dealing with an unpredictable American president. Maybe. Buts simply shrugging our shoulders and moving to a defensive crouch is a failed policy and that is exactly what we have seen from the Trudeau Liberals.
The essence of good public policy and a true test of leadership is to overcome these challenges and deliver on our country’s great promise.
We can see the mounting cost of inadequate and incoherent policy in our national debt levels, in the cost of living, and in the yawning gap between American and Canadian prosperity. We seem stuck in the status quo, unable to imagine and execute new approaches that will turbocharge our economy and restore Canadian vitality.
We need a bold vision for Canada. One that will allow us to not only catch up to the Americans but to beat them at their own game. Trump’s approach to revitalizing the US economy has famously employed tax cuts and deregulation, but the real story has been his impact on consumer and investor confidence. That tangible faith in the future has sent the stock market to new highs, supported by new investments and spending that have overcome the downsides of Trump’s trade policies with China and others.
We need to restore Canadian pride in our economy, but without the other aberrant American policies like high tariffs and rising debt. The best way to do that is to create wide open horizons for Canadian and global businesses and dramatically reduce the cost of living for all of us.
These are both votes of confidence in ourselves and in our country and its potential.
My plan as Canada’s next Conservative Prime Minister is to dramatically cut costs for all Canadians. I will start by eliminating corporate income tax, thus addressing the needs of investors and global job creators who will see Canada as the very best place in the world to do business and create wealth. And I will reduce the costs of everyday essentials like mortgages, banking, television and the internet by opening those protected sectors to the winds of competition.
Under my plan, our economy will see a burst of growth. This will initially raise our incomes and then become self-sustaining because these bold changes will raise our value of the future. Lower cost investments, cheaper finance, leaner and healthier companies, and better access to the digital world–these are exactly what we need to move our living standards to the next level.
What does this mean to all of us? Lower fees, faster and better service and more choice on everything. Fewer bank fees. Smaller cell phone bills. Quicker access to better and more health care services. High speed rural internet.
As always, there will be Nervous Nellies who will argue that this is impossible. That it will cost too much. That it will be too hard. To them, I say this: just watch us. A Conservative government under my leadership will quickly execute a responsible fiscal plan that will pay for tax cuts and reduce government deficits at the same time.
This will clearly demonstrate to Canada’s businesses that it’s in their interest to work harder, sharpen their pencils, drop prices, give better service and offer more choice. It makes no sense that Canadians should pay more and accept less in today’s globalized markets.
Canada does not need to rely on the US, as we do now, to set our future. What we need instead are new, bold policies and new leadership to set those ideas into play.
We need to get our own house in order. And the first steps to take cannot be small and timid.
My promise to all Canadians is this: I will promote and fight for the policies that are needed to secure this very achievable future. We will emerge from the timid crouch that the Liberal government is in now, and step out onto the world stage with energy, confidence and strength.
We will be winners. We will be bold.