Poilievre demands corporate leaders “fire lobbyists” in open letter

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre wrote an open memo to corporate Canada, imploring business leaders to fire their lobbyists, ignore politicians and instead listen to the people. 

The memo addresses the recent capital gains tax hike brought forth under the Trudeau government’s latest 2024 budget announcement. 

A decision Poilievre said made for many worried business leaders contacting him to see what his party was going to do about it.

“My answer: “No. What are you going to do about it?” reads Poilievre’s memo. “Most are stunned silent by the question. They had been planning to do nothing except complain and hope their useless and overpaid lobbyists meet Chrystia Freeland or Justin Trudeau to talk some sense into them while the opposition hounds the government to reverse course. Sorry. That won’t cut it.”

The opposition leader goes on to say that the reason businesses and entrepreneurs are under attack from the federal government is because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knows that “they won’t do anything about it.”

“He knows he has raised payroll and energy taxes on businesses, attacked the resource sector with unconstitutional laws, and faced no consequences from the business community,” reads the memo. 

He cited how the Liberals killed TransCanada’sEnergy East pipeline and then later did the same to the proposed $20 billion Teck Frontier Mine. 

“In both cases, the companies’ gutless executives agreed to take the fall,” said Poilievre.

Poilievre also mentioned how Beer Canada was gracious to the Liberals for only increasing the excise tax by 2% because they were worried it could have been raised even higher. 

“The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) once gave an award to Trudeau’s then-national revenue minister for letting businesses distribute T4s electronically (wow, big deal!) just a few weeks after the Liberal government in the fall of 2017 had unleashed a wicked tax assault on small private businesses’ passive investments and income sharing with families,” the memo continued.

He also talked about how the Business Council of Alberta hosted an event to praise the Trudeau government after it kiboshed two pipelines via “their anti-resource law C-69 and imposed a hated carbon tax on small businesses with no rebates for over five years now.”

Poilievre called for all businesses in the province to cancel their memberships and cut their funding to the Business Council. He also called for small businesses across Canada to do the same for the CFIB.  

“At the most, the Chamber of Commerce, Business Council, and Canadian Federation of Independent Business hold pointless luncheons and meetings and write op-eds or record interviews that almost no one sees,” reads the memo. “As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I refuse to meet the aforementioned groups. They tell me what I already know.”

Poilievre argued that the only area where any business lobby “has borne fruit has been the rotten fruit of undue handouts, privileges, and protections by the state.”

He advised businesses not to come to politicians regarding Trudeau’s latest tax hikes, but rather to consult with Canadians themselves. 

Poilievre stressed that if tax hikes will force doctors out of the country, then medical associations must ensure that every patient is aware of that. If engineers will have to leave Canada for better job opportunities, said Poilievre, then both parents and students must know that’s what their future may hold. 

Poilievre delivered a similar message when he met with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in March. 

While Poilievre said his government would operate under the complete opposite policies as the Liberals, the memo also instructed businesses not to seek help from him unless they had already convinced the people that what they wanted would be beneficial for Canadians. 

“If you do have a policy proposal, don’t tell me about it. Convince Canadians that it’s good for them,” he said. “ Communicate your policy’s benefits directly to workers,  consumers and retirees. When they start telling me about your ideas on the doorstep in Windsor, St. John’s, Trois-Rivières, and Port Alberni, then I’ll think about enacting it.”

Poilievre wrote about how this had been done in the past, citing how in 1988 Canada’s free trade agreement with the U.S. was in peril as only 38% of Canadians supported it at the time, with 43% opposing it. 

The country’s business community campaigned hard to show Canadians what they stood to lose if the agreement became obsolete, and eventually swayed the majority back into its favour. 

“Want to stop the latest tax hike? Or get bureaucracy out of the way to build homes, mines, factories, pipelines and more? Then cancel your lunch meeting at the Rideau Club. Fire your lobbyist. And go to the people,” the memo concluded. 

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