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'Deserve better': Business community reacts to Trudeau win

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks after the federal election in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The dust has settled, and a Liberal minority is left to govern after one of the nastier elections in recent memory.

It will soon be time to get on with the business of governing, but what does the business community think of the government Canadians elected?

We deserved better

The Business Council of Canada congratulated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and says it is ready to work with the government and all parties for a better economic future for all Canadians.

“The people have spoken and the people are never wrong. Canadians, however, did deserve better than the campaign that just ended,” said Goldy Hyder, CEO of the Business Council of Canada, in a release.

“While acknowledging the anxiety many Canadians feel about their economic future, the parties offered little in the way of a coherent plan for economic growth and a better quality of life for all citizens.”

Too many cooks in the kitchen

Armine Yalnizyan, economist and Atkinson Fellow On The Future Of Workers, called the election night speeches “tone-deaf,” but thinks the Liberals will work with other parties on some issues and butt heads on others.

“The composition of the minority government is likely to be sufficiently stable to achieve advances in social protections and to tackle inequality in the next two years, because of shared interests of the majority of elected representatives; but that same majority will struggle to find shared economic goals, whether related to oil exports, climate change, or business investment,” she told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“Responses to developments in trade will be a key area to watch.”

NAFTA 2.0

Trade is still something of a question mark. The USMCA deal is in place, but it still needs to be ratified.

“The result means that the USMCA ratification remains on track and the projected upcoming gains of the Canadian automotive sector will stand,” Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

Don’t forget about steelworkers

The removal of steel and aluminum tariffs has opened the door to ratification. The Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) is calling on the incoming government to focus on “improving domestic and U.S. markets and trading regimes.”

The CSPA also wants help with being more competitive and with its transformation in the face of climate change.

“The CSPA will continue to engage with parliamentarians of all stripes to ensure they appreciate that the steel industry is a $15 billion cornerstone of the Canadian economy that supports good jobs, communities, and families throughout the country,” Catherine Cobden, CSPA president, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

A promise kept is as good as gold

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) will watch for the Liberals to follow through on promises including eliminating credit card processing fees on HST and GST, cutting the cost of federal incorporation to $50 from $200, more work with farmers to help make it easier for them to transfer or sell farms to family members or others, and free trade with China.

The CFIB also hopes Ottawa can help mend its relationship with small businesses.

"Small businesses are at the centre of our economy and our communities. A full 99 per cent of businesses in Canada have fewer than 500 employees. We are calling on all parties to place them at the centre of their plans for the country," said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB's senior vice-president of national affairs, in a release.

"On behalf of CFIB's 110,000 members, we look forward to working with all newly elected MPs to achieve that."

Workers breathe a sigh of relief

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, represents 315,000 workers. Its president was vocal about his opposition to a government led by Andrew Scheer.

"Workers remember that Andrew Scheer was a part of a Harper government that catered to big business at our expense," said Dias, in a release.

"We see Conservative policies in action in Alberta and Ontario where wages and vital services have been cut. That's why we took action to prevent Andrew Scheer from inflicting similar harm from the federal level."

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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