Whither the CFIB?

Like a lot of bloggers, columnists, radio talk show hosts, etc. I tend to get fixated on a subject for awhile and then back off. My current target of choice is the CFIB.

The Premier of Ontario goes on a bender last night – a veritable orgy of economic development ‘picking winners’ and I can’t find a single negative comment in any of the Ontario papers from the CFIB. Here’s a few examples:

Setting up the “new Next Generation Jobs Fund, which will create new good, high-paying jobs by developing new clean and green technologies”.

Increase support for the rural economic development fund by 50 per cent.

Increasing funding for festivals and events around Ontario, and expanding marketing initiatives to promote Ontario destinations.

Work with the forestry industry through initiatives like the Forest Sector Prosperity Fund.

Bolster regional economic expansion and jobs in northern Ontario by increasing the Northern Heritage Fund to $100 million, and in eastern Ontario by creating a new Eastern Ontario Development Fund.

Why no outrage from the CFIB in Ontario? Tourism. Forestry, Sustainable Technologies. All ‘picking winners’.

I have an emerging theory that the CFIB was coddled under Bernard Lord and maybe now the bloom is coming off the rose a bit.

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0 Responses to Whither the CFIB?

  1. NB taxpayer says:

    CFIB has never been as active as the CTF in addressing corporate welfare, waste, mismanagement and corruption. Even in NB, they may make a few statements in the paper, but if you go to their [CFIB’s] website, it almost appears as if they packed it in a few years back.

    A shameless plug for Kevin, but here’s a good place to start:

    Auto sector

    I know how much you dread the TPC loans to Ontario and all. lol

  2. David Campbell says:

    Actually, the CTF is fairly consistent in their positions unlike the CFIB. The problem, as I see it, with the CTF is that they come across with an “all taxes bad” approach. The CTF would be better served talking about what good public funding looks like rather than always focusing on the bad. Maybe it’s just nuance but it would be nice to see a list of public funding that the CTF thinks is worthwhile.

    As for the TPC, I am on the record here and elsewhere as saying that I am for the removal of all direct loans to business, grants, targeted tax breaks and other subsidies – as long as every province and state in North America comes on board.

    The problem is when people criticize the puny efforts to attract industry to NB and ignore the billions given to industry in Ontario and, yes, Alberta.

    Until such time that everyone agrees, I will go on advocating that our guys at least get in the game.

  3. mikel says:

    Keep in mind that the CFIB is far more democratic than the CTF which is largely ordered by one small group. This is a guy who sues anybody who dares try to incorporate ‘taxpayer’ in their organizational title. They certainly do not represent ‘taxpayers’, which is everyone, and virtually all their recommendations go counter to virtually every poll done.

    Listening to them sometimes is like listening to socialists, even if you don’t agree with what they preach FOR, we can usually all agree with what they preach AGAINST (that goes for this website as well).

    That’s the sad part about canadian politics, the parties ensure that people bicker about lesser issues at a superficial level while if specific issues were looked at then there are lots of things that people would agree on.

    The inconsistency of the CFIB is an issue, however, you again have to throw the media monopoly into the mix. The Irvings always have a strong business bent and go to the typically sources for rebuttal on anything economic or political. Ontario has a much bigger media which is much more diverse (still not very diverse) and also much more interested in selling papers nationally. So its hard to get a picture of ontario, because all ontario’s papers are national.

    The CFIB MAY have said similar things but just were not appealed to by the media for comment. However, if you find yourself bored, a simple email asking them to explain that inconsistency would make for an interesting blog in itself (hint hint). However, once again it may be ordered along regional lines, which means when they talk about ‘picking winners’, more of the ontario businesses are winners, whereas if the industries don’t exist, the businesses in the CFIB are the losers-that explains their rationale as well.

  4. nbt says:

    Fair point. But instead of pushing for funding from one side so much (government), why not go after the private sector for loans or angel investments. It would seem to me that private investors/business are better at developing a strong business sector than bureaucrats, just look at what happened in Vancouver with Asian investors a decade or so ago years before the NDP screwed it up.

    I’m not saying that bureaucrats and ED agents at BNB are all bad, but they sure do have a lousy track record in our neck of the woods. So bad, if I was one of them, I think I would be reluctant to identify myself on the street.

  5. mikel says:

    It depends which workers and which neck of the woods. That was quite a coup for Nova Scotia to get RIM, but again that was with some ‘perks’ from government. IF the private sector could be counted on for, well, anything, then I’d agree, however, its well established that the myopic view towards share prices and immediate profits means government has to become involved.

    IF there were such a capitalistic structure as Adam Smith proposed then the private sector COULD be counted on, because there is such heavy regulation that there is no worry about corporate or business interests superceding the interests of the general public-however, that’s so far from the case that virtually the only group that gets less support than political levels are corporations.

  6. richard says:

    “why not go after the private sector for loans or angel investments. “

    Isn’t there plenty of data from around the globe that targeted government investment coupled with the right regulatory policies can be big winners in terms of economic growth. In fact, those approaches have worked in a number of cases where the private sector has failed to do the job.

    CTF is a one-trick pony, better off ignored.