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Speculation is intense that the unofficial election campaign we have already been experiencing for several months is about to become official: Ottawa is awash in rumours the writ may be dropped as early as this weekend, setting the stage for months of promises, accusations and photo-ops.
Canada's first-quarter GDP report was not just "atrocious," as predicted by Stephen Poloz. It was downright negative: total real GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 0.6 per cent (fastest pace of decline since the 2008-09 recession). Nominal GDP fell faster (annualized rate of 3 per cent), as deflation took hold across the broader production economy (led, of course, by energy prices).
The biggest change in Canada's tax policy over the last generation was the steep reduction in corporate income taxes (CIT) engineered since 2000 at both the federal and provincial levels. Advocates of CIT cuts promised they would stimulate more business investment and thus generate trickle-down benefits for all Canadians. Free-market economists built theoretical models to show that lower corporate taxes would boost investment, productivity and even wages.
You could hear jaws dropping onto factory floors right across Ontario's auto belt last month. Export Development Canada (EDC) announced a $525-million loan to Volkswagen. The money was not to lure the company -- the world's largest automaker -- to Canada. To the contrary, we're helping finance Volkswagen's growth 4,000 kilometers away: with expanded factories in Mexico and Tennessee, and a new plant in Mexico (producing luxury Audis).
Related rabble.ca story:
In light of the latest NAFTA Chapter 11 decision to go against Canada, I was asked to put together some background notes for our Unifor leadership on this bizarre quasi-judicial kangaroo court system. Here they are, in case they are useful for anyone else getting up to speed on the whole investor-state dispute system.
Some very good and more detailed resources on the subject include: