At least we know what Flaherty's job is: pimping for corporate tax cuts. Of course he skirts around the B.C. carbon tax and doesn't include that in his praise. This is from Canwest.B.C. gets better grade from Flaherty than Ontario
Canwest News Service
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty addresses a luncheon of the Board of Trade in Vancouver Wednesday. He avoided direct comment on the centerpiece of the B.C. government's budget, a carbon tax that will add to the price of fuels and other fossil fuels.
VANCOUVER - The contrast could hardly have been more stark. Minutes after pelting Ontario with another round of verbal stones for its high corporate-tax rates, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty strolled into Vancouver's Four Seasons hotel restaurant with his British Columbia counterpart, Carole Taylor, looking quite cozy indeed.
It could not have hurt that he had just finished lavishly complimenting Taylor for the "excellent fiscal leadership" she showed in the provincial budget announced two weeks ago.
His praise, which came in a speech he delivered to a pinstriped audience at a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon Wednesday, was directed at the corporate tax cuts B.C. announced in its recent budget. The cuts will bring the province's rate down to 10 per cent "perhaps as early as 2011," Flaherty said - ahead of the 2012 target he has asked provinces to reach.
"It gives us a chance as Canadians to brand our country as a low business tax jurisdiction," he said in a speech that reprised for his western audience budget remarks he has already made elsewhere in Canada.
He avoided direct comment, however, on the centerpiece of the B.C. budget, a carbon tax that will add to the price of fuels and other fossil fuels, but return the revenues in the form of personal and corporate tax cuts. Canada needs to avoid a patchwork of provincial environmental regulations, he said, but would only comment that the carbon tax is "one approach."
"We're taking a regulatory approach in Ottawa, which we think is necessary to regulate all the industries in Canada with respect to the CO2 emissions," he said. "These are not mutually exclusive approaches."
Flaherty was more direct about Ontario's corporate taxes, a topic that has pitted him fiercely against that province's premier, Dalton McGuinty, in recent days.
Asked whether it was helpful for the federal finance minister to publicly disparage the business environment in the country's largest province - a stand McGuinty has called a "betrayal" - Flaherty said, "it's not helpful for Ontario to be the jurisdiction in Canada with the highest business taxes.
"Their business taxes are not just the highest in Canada, overall, they're the highest in North America. And, according to their own competitiveness panel appointed by the government of Ontario, they're among the highest business taxes in the major economies in the world," he said.
"This is not an academic discussion. This is important for the health of the Ontario economy, and therefore for the health of the Canadian economy, that the government of Ontario get its own house in order."