The date for the federal budget date was revealed last week and business leaders have since weighed in on what they hope to hear from Ottawa.
Here’s what some of them have told BNN:
Dax Dasilva, CEO, Lightspeed
“We’ve spoken to the government and been a part of their innovation agenda. I think that they have a real pulse on small business…I think the budget enabling more independent entrepreneurs to succeed is a good direction.”
John Sicard, president and CEO, Kinaxis
“If anything, I’d say it should be easier to retain and find talent. I feel like other countries have found an easier way to extract talent out of our country and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for us to maintain the talent we have and attract new talent from abroad. So from a macro perspective, I would be looking for the government to ease that – the acquisition of talent from abroad and taking measures to make sure that we keep talent that’s already here.”
Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar
“I would like to see some sign that we’ve got some sort of fiscal restraint – that we are thinking about the future and we are not creating an enormous debt for us in the future. I think that’s really important – to have a balanced approach to the budget...at the same time, I think the government is doing some great things around important areas like innovation, like skills enhancement, that I think are critical.”
Steve King, CEO, Alaris Royalty
“Always lower taxes. With that being said, 80 per cent of our revenue is in the U.S., so the U.S. budget probably has more impact on us than the Canadian budget right now. But lower taxes. Other than that, a pro-business environment where our partner companies can really [thrive].”
Sophie Brochu, CEO, Gaz Métro
“We need to find a way to enhance innovation in this country. I personally believe that we have a deficit of innovation – innovation drives productivity. We need to develop new businesses, we need to develop new technologies. We need to develop artificial intelligence. But we also need to take care of existing businesses that need to drive and enhance their business model and productivity.”
Stephen Jarislowsky, former president, Jarislowsky Fraser
“I’m not going to tell the government exactly what to do… but I do believe definitely in innovation and I definitely believe in building on top of that innovation. ”
Frances Donald, senior economist , Manulife Asset Management
“It’s going to come down to, number one, what is the health of federal fiscal finances? Are we in a position where the deficits are growing in a way that we need to be potentially worried about credit agencies or international bond markets getting concerned?
The second component is more of a short-term trade. And that is, is there anything in this budget that either contributes to or detracts from growth? Details we’re going to be looking for are infrastructure— details or comments. Anything that has to do with long-term competition improvements. And lastly, any changes to the tax system.”
Tim Gramatovich, CEO, Peritus Asset Management
“All I’m hearing is they keep mentioning the issues of capital gains and dividends and the potential to increase the effective tax rates on these two items. I think that would be a tragic mistake…We’re struggling right now in attracting capital in a lot of areas in this country. You want a competitive atmosphere, and I think [the government] may [be] start[ing] to get that message.”
Ravi Saligram, CEO, Ritchie Bros.
“The Prime Minister has talked a lot about infrastructure spending as a way to reignite growth – and we hope that those plans come to be. A lot of our customers, who are contractors, are looking forward to that.”
Lyle Stein, senior portfolio and managing director, Vestcap Investment Management
“The [change] we’re most concerned about is the possibility that the dividend tax credit gets manipulated. The beauty in Canada, unlike the U.S., is that dividends are not double-taxed. If they take that away, that has significant implications. It disrupts our capital market. We are watching this budget very closely to see what sort of direction is put into it with respect to changes and returns to investors.”