Blitzkrieg on Tax Reform 

Tax fairness. It’s been on many a Canadian’s lips since Bill Morneau two-left-footed his way to announcing a listening tour across Canada, for his tax reform proposals on Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC).

A tour that ran head long into a Blitzkrieg. From Andrew Scheer’s gleeful Conservative Party, to Ontario doctors seemingly ready for any fight, including amongst themselves, to lawyers, accountants, small farmers, and left-leaning voters accustomed to spitting out Trudeau’s name, the pile-on was sizeable and surgical.

And, for the most part, false. Yes, THAT false. Continue reading Blitzkrieg on Tax Reform 

Ideal LCBO, Modeled After The Bay, not Costco

The Costco-model, as this Toronto Star article suggests with the help of a couple of retail experts, is the antithesis of what LCBO should endeavour, if profits are the Ontario government’s objective.

The stripped-down, utilitarian model of Costco, offers many categories of products, but with limited selection in each category. For example, if strawberry-banana or cherry or pineapple yogurt is more your cup of tea, you’re out of luck. Costco sells plain, Astro Balkan-style yogurt, while enjoying the yogurt in x-large-tub format shelf to itself with nary a competitive brand in sight. You either buy the Astro tub yogurt, the multi-flavour mini-pak yogurt occupying the next shelf position, or not.

Note that shelf also comes with unparalleled physical space, which creates an uncluttered and simple-to-locate shopping experience.

Costco is in the business of primarily selling staple items, with some discretionary categories, at head-office mandated margins no greater than 14-15 percentage points. Which is why you pay the prices you do at Costco, see minimal advertising and in-store assistance, in a sparse, stripped-down setting.

Now ask yourself how many vodka brands are available on LCBO shelves? In how many flavours? At how many price points? That selection in a single category would never be available at Costco.

Continue reading Ideal LCBO, Modeled After The Bay, not Costco

Escalator Allows Canadian Business to Reverse a Disturbing Canadian Economic Trend, Youth Unemployment

An astounding ten percent of youth, aged 15-24 in the greater Toronto-Hamilton area are not in education, employment or training.

That’s 83,000 possibly adrift youth with little understanding of what possibilities await them, where best to begin that search, facing barriers associated with racism, poverty, recent immigration, and lack of familial networks or job market know-how others take for granted.

Toronto as a whole has a youth unemployment rate over 20%. The numbers erode further as you factor in race: 28% for black youth, 25% for Aboriginal youth, 24% for South Asians and Chinese youth, and 27% for Korean youth. (Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey)

As of July 14, 2014, the national youth uneployment rate is 13.2%. How does that compare to some of our trading partners? While Germany at 7.8% and Japan at 7.2% fare much better, the US at 13.6%, France at 22.4% and UK at 17.7%, are staring at a lost generation of students and college or university graduates with stifling student debt and little hope in putting to practice their areas of study.

Facing pressure from 1) business segment that abdicated its responsibilities in training and development in the name of cost savings and a just-in-time hire expected to ready-set-go-on-the-first-day, and 2) provinces’ alarm at the rate of unpaid internships for youth seeking practical experience, Ottawa responded with a $40 million internship program earlier this year.

The national internship program for 3000 post-secondary students interested in pursuing a career in STEM and skilled trades, provides for fully-paid internships for a six to twelve month period. The government is counting on business stepping forward and hiring these students once their paid-for training and learning is complete.

Continue reading Escalator Allows Canadian Business to Reverse a Disturbing Canadian Economic Trend, Youth Unemployment

I Accept The Transit Challenge

Anne Golden, leader of Premier Wynne’s Transit Panel, commenced a dialogue with the Ontario public on acceptable means of funding the transit expansion so desperately needed in Ontario.

Why this dialogue wasn’t nurtured nor welcome by Metrolinx last year is fodder for another discussion. I took Ms. Golden’s offer of accepting ideas through email or joining the discussion on #TransitPanel to heart.

Based on the premise that cost should be shared by all parties to an extent and that business’ gains are crucial to the future prosperity of the region, I offer the following ideas, pending further cost/benefit analysis. Pre-suppose that all revenues gained from the following are committed to fund transit and relevant infrastructure projects:

Continue reading I Accept The Transit Challenge

Transit, Premier Wynne’s Hot Potato

Every political figure relishes a defining issue. One that affords them an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in creating and implementing a transformative policy or impression that ripples across a populace or generation.

For Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, transit might be that policy. Anyone that drives anywhere within the GTA-Hamilton corridor is familiar with the crawl. Business claims congestion costs local industries $6 billion annually. Yet all politicians of every stripe at every level for years chose to turn a deaf ear, playing their political capital elsewhere.

Not Premier Wynne. No, she’s contemplating taking the transit issue all the way to an election. Without any support from either opposing party, nor the federal government. And to date, the majority of the voters.

And how will this revenue-challenged province pay for all these transit projects. Earlier this week, Metrolinx released its recommendations as to which revenue tools it suggests Premier Wynne incorporate:

Continue reading Transit, Premier Wynne’s Hot Potato