Starting and Growing Great Canadian Companies

Canada depends for its prosperity on the strength and success of Canadian businesses, large and small.  We depend in particular on those generating merchandise and commercial services exports, as well as those with foreign affiliates.  According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Canada had US $475 billion in exports and $475 billion in imports in 2014.[1]  In other words, the value of Canada’s trade was equivalent to over 60% of our GDP.  (The WTO average is 30%.)  In other words, without outstanding Canadian companies capable of competing, winning and exporting on the global stage, we would be a much poorer country.


We need to promote such excellence.  Countries such as Australia, Switzerland and the Nordics have higher rates of export-oriented corporate success – and as a result higher per capita income and higher standards of living.  By my rough calculation, in the Jutland region of Denmark (where my wife Hedvig is from) there is at least one significant ‘global champion’ – a well-known exporter in its sector – for every 100,000 inhabitants.  Several regions of Canada have high concentrations of globally successful companies.  But we need more.


From 1995 to 2014, the fastest-growing product groups among global merchandise exports were fuels, chemical and pharmaceutical products, ores and other minerals, and food – all areas of strength for Canada.[2]  Commercial services have grown even faster, with computer and information, financial and business services topping the list.[3]  Exports of services delivered by foreign affiliates, which are not accurately captured in national statistics, have grown even faster.


When Canadian companies succeed, particularly in exporting their goods, services and expertise, our country prospers and Canadians earn more.  How do we redouble this success?  First, we need to be a hotbed of great new companies, fuelled by research, discovery, invention, innovative ideas and top talent.  Second, we need to ensure successful Canadian companies can grow, achieve and retain competitive excellence and thrive, all while remaining based in Canada.  Third, we need to support our companies as they seek new export markets, especially in the US, Asia and Europe.


As Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of Canada I would:


(i)             lower all taxes on small business, including payroll taxes;


(ii)           ensure corporate taxes remained lower than those of our major competitors;


(iii)          promote investment in Canadian start-up and growth companies;


(iv)          incentivize all universities, colleges, centres of excellence and other post-secondary institutions to partner with incubators, accelerators and companies of all sizes;


(v)           work with corporate Canada and all partners involved in education and training to highlight the skills, skilled trades, digital fluency and entrepreneurship required by successful companies in the new economy;


(vi)          update Canadian intellectual property law to ensure the global success of our technology, financial, advanced manufacturing, cultural and other sectors;


(vii)        in partnership with industry, agree a plan to achieve 3% of GDP combined public-private sector spending on research and development by 2025;


(viii)       reduce the regulatory and compliance burden on all Canadian exporters while ensuring exceptional quality and full protection of workers, consumers and the environment;


(ix)          build pipelines, port facilities and other infrastructure to support the success of Canada’s energy, mining and metals, agri-food, forest and fisheries sectors;


(x)           enlarge Canada’s trade and investment support network to ensure high rates of growth in Canadian exports to all continents;


(xi)          brand Canada as a centre of start-up excellence, a destination of choice for top talent, and a globally-connected full-service economic leader; and


(xii)        engage Canada’s leading start-ups and exporters continuously to deliver this agenda.




[1] World Trade Organization, International Trade Statistics 2015, p 48

[2] Ibid., p 29

[3] Ibid., p 20

Alexandra Day