The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) thinks Canada’s federal government needs to seriously reconsider its economic agenda, and isn’t afraid to say so.
On Thursday the organization, which lobbies Canada’s governments to enact policies that improve innovation, launched a new campaign called “press the reset button” aimed at encouraging the Liberal party to develop new regulations that will boost Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage.
“We are asking Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, in his public appearances and on social media, to PRESS the RESET BUTTON to improve Canadian business growth, entrepreneurship and innovation,” CATA CEO John Reid, speaking for CATA’s Innovation Leadership Council, said in a Sept. 28 statement. “It is a conversation that should be the top headline for all Canadians and the Prime Minister’s role is to make it so.”
According to serial entrepreneur, former VentureLab executive in residence, and CATA Innovation Leadership Council member Dan Wasserman, the campaign’s key slogan refers to a need for both the government and Canada’s tech industry leaders to “reset” the current debate.
“Let’s back off on both sides,” he says in a video released to launch the campaign (below). “Let’s keep the rhetoric out of it… If we keep going down this path, we’re going to only wind up with more animosity than ever.”
In the video, Wasserman proposes that Canada look to its largest trading partner, the U.S., and the sweeping cuts defining its administration’s proposed $5 trillion USD tax system overhaul.
“They are diametrically opposed to what we’re doing up here,” Wasserman says. “The way for a government to make more money is to reduce taxes… yes it’s a major cut, but [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump anticipates obviously gaining much much more than what he had before and what he inherited.”
“If we can look at things dispassionately, sit down, both sides of the table, and work out a new, appropriate tax regime that is good for Canada based on what our costs are, then we have a real upside,” he continues.
The “press the reset button” campaign is an extension of CATA’s existing mission to raise Canada’s reputation for innovation on the world stage through policies such as an improved research and development tax credit system. More than one study has shown Canada is not seen as innovative in the world’s eyes – an Accenture study last year concluded that Canada lags behind other G20 nations in fostering digital platform innovation, and the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index placed Canada in 15th place among the world’s 25 most innovative nations in 2016.
The campaign also isn’t the first time CATA has argued that the federal Liberals’ proposed changes to Canada’s tax system, aimed at closing loopholes frequently exploited by the richest Canadians, would end up penalizing the small- and medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs who serve as the backbone of Canada’s economy.