John Ivison: Trudeau’s Davos Man message can’t hold back the flow of capital from private corporations
The Prime Minister offered a rather curious response last week when I asked him if, in the wake of recent U.S. personal and corporate tax cuts, his government could maintain Canada’s competitiveness.
The real solution, he suggested, is to boost growth by getting more women into the workforce and paying them more. “We’re hurting ourselves by not being values-based in our approach,” he said in our interview.
He repeated broadly the same message this week to a well-heeled business audience in Davos, in a speech that most resembled a Seinfeldian airing of grievances: “I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it.”
In his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum, Trudeau said that “too many corporations have put the pursuit of profit before the well-being of their workers … but that approach won’t cut it anymore. We are in the new age of doing business — you need to give back.”
In Trudeau’s Arcadia, profit is a dirty word, replaced as a priority by progressive trade and more generous social spending. Problems of competitiveness are resolved by growth, fuelled entirely by narrowing the gender gap.
The Prime Minister’s intellectual crutch is a report by McKinsey Global Institute that suggests Canada could add $150 billion to its GDP in 2026 if it can raise female participation in the workplace, increase women’s business hours and get more women into high-productivity sectors like technology.
Who needs to match U.S. tax rates when there’s a McKinsey report that says everything will be okay?