Keep cutting the red tape

by 2 February 2020

Article courtesy of the Estevan Mercury.

Each year the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has its Red Tape Awareness Week.

It highlights the governments that CFIB says are doing the right thing by making life easier for businesses. These governments are awarded the Golden Scissors Award. CFIB also rags on those that make life tougher for businesses with unnecessary red tape by giving them the Golden Paperweight Awards.
They also grade provinces for their efforts to make life easier for small businesses with CFIB’s annual report cards. Saskatchewan, for what it’s worth, received an A this year, which is something we should be pretty happy about, although the Saskatchewan government could obviously always do more to make life easier for business, such as removing the provincial sales tax on construction materials, something that has hindered a lot of work from happening.
Last week was the Red Tape Awareness Week, and as usual, it made for some pretty good reading and generated some pretty good humour as well.
Some of the ideas that governments have done to cut red tape for businesses are great and they make a lot of sense. Others make you wonder why they were in place to begin with.
And when you look at the concepts that result in a Golden Paperweight Award, you just scratch your head and wonder how anyone could have thought it would be a good idea. Other business roadblocks make you wonder how some were elected in the first place.
Obviously the CFIB is not perfect. It’s a lobby group and its job is to look out for the interests of its members. But we have to remember that it’s the businesses, especially small businesses, that drive the economy and create jobs and create opportunities for people.
The only jobs that an overly regulatory government will create will be for bureaucrats. No economy has ever thrived by creating an environment for bureaucrats to thrive in.
Every industry and profession needs to have regulations and measures in place. Business owners need to have standards, and if they break these standards, they need to be held accountable, regardless of whether they’re a large corporation or a one-person, home-based outfit.
But we also need the government’s regulations to be rooted in common sense, allowing businesses to grow and thrive, especially small businesses. Business tax rates need to be reasonable, and not overly burdensome to the point that they cost people their jobs.
Ultimately government regulations need to encourage entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs to enter the business world, while still protecting employees, the environment, infrastructure and more.
It’s absurd that the federal government targeted small and medium-sized businesses in the way that they did in 2017. Granted, they repealed some of the measures and softened some others, but for a government that talks about being a champion of the middle class, they sure had a funny way of showing it.
Something like the Red Tape Awareness Week can be very important. It brings to people’s attention to those who are doing a good job at encouraging business and holds the government to account if their policies are getting in the way of businesses succeeding.
You can be sure that things like the carbon tax, the $15 minimum wage and applying the provincial sales tax to insurance premiums won’t go over well with the CFIB.
The Golden Scissors Awards aren’t just a pat on the back and the Golden Paperweight Awards aren’t just good for a laugh. Ultimately they’re examples to other jurisdictions of what should and shouldn’t be done.

 

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