The CEO Poll: A vote of confidence

Canadian business leaders on Harperâ??s economic strategy.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handling of the current economic crisis is worthy of praise, according to a recent web poll of Canadian CEOs conducted by COMPAS Inc.

The 122 respondents were asked for their thoughts on a letter, sent to Harper on the eve of the recent G20 summit in London, by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The letter highlighted some of the government’s recent achievements, and the respondents in the COMPAS survey agreed whole-heartedly with the CCCE.

In particular, they were most supportive of Harper for speaking up against protectionist sentiments in other G20 countries, and for using tax and other measures to encourage Canadian business investment. Three-quarters of the respondents also agree that Harper provided an appropriately-sized stimulus package for the Canadian economy.

Many of the respondents were smitten with Harper’s recent U.S. media campaign, which took the prime minister to both CNN and Fox News. More than three-quarters of the CEOs felt it was a good thing for the Canadian economy. Overall, the CEOs gave Harper a score of 73 out of 100 for his handling so far of the current economic situation. But not everyone was convinced.

“The steps that are being taken to re-inflate the consumer market of the developed world are likely to cause heavy inflation in the near-term, which will do further damage to the world economy. We should be looking at expanding the huge untapped markets of the developing world, which have a sustainable future of great potential,” according to one respondent.

“Where is an economic vision and mission statement from the Prime Minister?” asked another. “Let’s rally the country around a common agenda and mission. It’s not too late to take the pulpit and set a goal of building infrastructure for a national power grid, maglev [magnetic levitation] rail trains or even an Arctic research station. Just give us something to believe in.”