As fears of weakening competitiveness continue to spread, Canadian businesses are losing confidence in our economy.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the ‘Index of Business Confidence’ fell to 93.1 in Q1 of 2018, a drop of 6.9 points and the lowest level in 18 months.
As noted by BNN Bloomberg, concerns centered around “the impact of U.S. tax cuts, a weak loonie and NAFTA uncertainty,” all part of broader worries about Canada’s economic competitiveness.
In a press release, the Conference Board of Canada said “Canada’s businesses had been experiencing relatively high levels of confidence in the economy throughout most of 2017 but business confidence reversed course in the final quarter of the year,” said Matthew Stewart, director of national forecasting with the Conference Board, in a release. The first-quarter results for 2018 are closer to the 2016 average, a sign that businesses see the economy moving into a new, slower-growth phase.”
While the Trudeau government has attempted to dismiss concerns about Canada’s weakening competitive position, the report points out that “about half of the firms surveyed cited government policy as negatively affecting spending plans.”
Additionally, 34% of firms say they think now is a good time to ‘invest in machinery and equipment,’ which is a sharp decline from the 52% who said that last year.
These numbers are no surprise. With the Trudeau government piling a carbon tax and increased regulations upon businesses while the U.S. reduces regulations and cuts taxes (and doesn’t have a carbon tax), Canada looks less and less like a good place to do businesses. Making matters worse, the Trudeau government chose to focus on ‘gender-budgeting’ virtue-signalling instead of addressing competitiveness problems, sending a clear signal that economic success isn’t a priority for the federal government.
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