Category Archives: Work

Forget Chickens; Invest in Eggs

Our general belief that jobs are created by businesses needs a little refinement

 

When Mayor Dean Fortin began proposing a gradual reduction of the business tax rate in Victoria relative to the residential rate, he argued it would help protect and create jobs. In resounding endorsement, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business agreed it would help companies “hire more staff”. A feature in the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s “Business Matters” magazine, “Local Government’s Role in Business Prosperity”, similarly endorsed this idea.

When federal finance minister Jim Flaherty announced the Conservatives’ latest corporate tax cuts, he explained that this would allow Canadian businesses to “create jobs”.

When the Smart Tax Alliance coalition of BC businesses came out swinging in defence of the Harmonized Sales Tax, chairman John Winter’s primary argument was that the eased tax burden on businesses would help them “create jobs”.

When discussing the Wisconsin state government’s now infamous efforts to squash public sector workers’ rights while giving tax breaks to corporations, Kevin Gaudet, national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, explained on CBC radio that even in times of public financial crisis we should be cutting taxes for businesses because “they’re the ones that put in place the jobs that people get paid for”.

It’s a statement that constantly re-emerges in federal proclamations and provincial debates, local community discussions and dinner-table arguments: Businesses create jobs. The phrase has spread throughout our culture like a viral “meme”, the term evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined to describe ideas, beliefs, symbols and other cultural information being passed around like genes between breeding rabbits. Continue reading “Forget Chickens; Invest in Eggs” »

Slave Ships at Ogden Point?

They float into Victoria’s night glowing like fifteen-story Christmas trees. With visions of big-spending passengers on shore leave, businesses and politicians eagerly welcome cruise ships. This February, our local daily ran a full-page spread, including the 184-ship schedule, lauding the “great news” of the record-breaking coming year.

But a recent report sounds an alarming foghorn into our collective delirium about the modern ship industry.

The root problem is widely recognized: Today, over half of commercial ships register in nations like Liberia or Panama to enjoy relative freedom from taxes and environment, labour and safety regulations. Even our ex-Prime Minister, shipping magnate Paul Martin, does it.

Continue reading “Slave Ships at Ogden Point?” »