corporate welfare

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Canada’s federal election was supposed to be the Seinfeld campaign—a contest about nothing, at least until the NDP’s polling numbers shot up. But regardless of how campaigns are tagged, they are always about something. This latest one should be called the Santa Claus campaign. That is, promises galore with only scant attention paid to how such election-time Christmas gifts will be financed.


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When the federal and Ontario governments transferred $14.5 billion in taxpayer cash to GM and Chrysler in 2009, they likely did so with the best of intentions—to preserve jobs, though no doubt southern Ontario votes also figured heavily into the equation. But in a recent analysis from Dennis DesRosier, the automotive analyst noticed that employment in the Canadian automotive sector, despite the bailout and economic recovery, continues to fall.  


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If Canadian businesses want help to offset the negative effects of a high Canadian dollar, they should lobby Canada's governments to end corporate welfare in exchange for a dramatic reduction in corporate taxes. They would find the tax relief dramatic, given how much federal, provincial and municipal governments now spend on business subsidies.


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The Vancouver Canucks are set to enjoy a few million bucks of taxpayer money so they are better able to contend for the Stanley Cup. In a deal with the BC Lottery Corporation, the Canucks will receive 15 percent of all betting on Sports Action lottery games and a portion of the take from new Canucks scratch and win tickets. The Stanley Cup in Vancouver sounds good - it’s the subsidies that sound bad.