Kingston Chamber of Commerce Breakfasts Blog

Posted on October 16, 2015

This past Wednesday October 7th, two Queen’s Business Consulting consultants had the opportunity to attend the Kingston Chamber of Commerce Federal Candidates breakfast where they listened to candidates from the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and the Green Party. It was a prime opportunity for the candidates to speak to local business leaders in Kingston and the Islands and lay out their plan for helping local business develop if elected. This post will be doing a quick examination of each of the candidates (and their respective federal parties) platforms, how they differ from each other, and how these plans might impact Kingston if they are put into action.

Mark Gerretsen - Liberal Party

Mark Gerretsen is the Federal Liberal candidate to represent Kingston and the Islands having already represented Kingston as its mayor from 2012 to today. He is committed to advocating for federal investments in local infrastructure projects such as the third crossing of the Cataraqui River. The Liberals are running on a platform of cutting taxes for both small business and the middle class, making the top 1% of income earners pay more so that middle income earners can receive up to a 7% tax cut. In specific terms this means that the small business tax rate would be lowered to 9% from the current 11%, a stance that nearly every Federal party has taken in this campaign. Gerretsen also advocates a plan for turning Kingston Penitentiary into a community waterfront area and is committed to reopening the prison farm program. The Liberals are pushing a national infrastructure and innovation program that includes a plan to add 40,000 jobs per year as part of youth employment strategy with Kingston a key part with its educational institutions playing a core role. A Liberal government would put up $200 million a year for three years to help research facilities, small business incubators and exporters. Another $100 million a year would go toward an industrial research assistance program.

Andy Brooke - Conservative Party

The Federal Conservative Party’s candidate for Kingston and the Islands is Andy Brooke, a longtime Kingston resident and veteran of the RCMP. He has emphasized throughout his campaign that he is not a politician and that he would be a strong advocate for veterans and the military, which is a key part of Kingston’s economy. In his remarks at the breakfast Brooke came out as a strong proponent of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade deal, says it will open up markets for Canadian business that will allow them to be exporters, that it protects vulnerable industries such as dairy farmers and that it will be a net benefit for Canada and Kingston. Brooke said that his plan to make Kingston a centre of business and innovation will encourage the growth of Kingston business so that it can become an exporter to these new markets and benefit from free trade and that lower prices and more choice will accompany the deal. Brooke, like Gerretsen committed to the Kingston prison farm and the value that it brings as well as committing to lower the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% while balancing the federal budget and eliminating debt. In addition he touched on the Conservative promise to cut the red tape and administrative burden to business by another 20% to save time and money for Kingston small businesses.

Daniel Beals - NDP

Daniel Beals is the NDP candidate for Kingston, having run once before in 2011 and garnering the highest level of support yet seen for an NDP candidate in Kingston at 21.4% of the vote. He is an experienced community leader with a background in activism, social justice and community and economic development. Beals, as with Brooke and Gerretsen are in support of lowering the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% and the development of Kingston Penitentiary. The NDP plans to boost investment in tourism as well as investing $1.5 billion per year in new infrastructure funding to municipalities to fix roads, bridges and water treatment systems and $1.3 billion per year in a national strategy to improve transit and reduce gridlock. The NDP plans to reinstate the federal minimum wage and raise it to $15 an hour and support innovation and investment in companies creating jobs in Canada, with an early focus on the aerospace, automotive, forestry and mining sectors. One of Beals’ main goals is to develop a National Housing Strategy to assist municipalities in the development of accessible and affordable housing; a cause that he has fought for previously in Kingston.

Nathan Townend - Green Party

The Green Party candidate for Kingston and the Islands is Nathan Townend, a Queen’s graduate and advocate for a revitalized Kingston. He detailed his plans to make the Kingston Penitentiary site as a hub of tourism focused on local food, brewing, arts, culture and sport. Townend’s plan for the KP distillery district was presented as the focal point of vibrant waterfront tourism corridor connecting Portsmouth Village’s cultural and recreational amenities -such as the Olympic Harbour and Theatre 5- with the Tett Centre, Bader Centre for Performing Arts. The corridor of bike lanes, walking paths and special public transportation would lead to downtown in the east and Lake Ontario Park in the west. The Green Party pledges to institute a full range of ‘polluter pays’ taxes, including a carbon fee and dividend designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels by sending a market signal to producers. They are committed to returning corporate tax rates to the higher levels of 2008 but maintaining the small business rate at 11%. They promise to eliminate personal taxes on incomes below the low-income cut-off (no taxes on incomes of $20,000 or less) and they are planning to develop a specific tax-shifting schedule to provide tax incentives and direct rebates to businesses and individuals investing in the modern clean-tech economy (e.g. installing solar hot water systems, refitting homes and businesses to conserve energy).

All the federal candidates put forth well thought out propositions for how their platforms would benefit Kingston area businesses and came prepared for very difficult questions from the audience. The key pillars of each candidates plan were actually quite similar in the effect that it would be estimated to have on local business; the tax cut for small businesses to a 9% rate and development of the old Kingston Penitentiary principally among them. The candidate business leaders in Kingston will vote for should ultimately come down then to who they feel will represent their views best in Parliament and which party they feel will be the best stewards of Canada’s economic future.

Download our summary table as a PDF

Federal Candidates positions on Tax Policy, and Areas for Investment

Tags: News