The CEO Poll: Bring on the Harper agenda

Executives are enthusiastic about the Conservatives’ plans for the economy.

Now that the dust from the election has settled, Canadian executives are looking forward to seeing the Conservatives take advantage of their majority government to implement new policies concerning business. In a recent COMPAS Inc. poll, CEOs showed strong enthusiasm for most of the planks in Harper’s economic platform.

Execs were most excited at the prospect of improving cross-border trade and travel flow to the United States, which they ranked a 6.0 on a 7-point scale, where 1 means disagree strongly and 7 means the opposite. They were also supportive of completing a Canada-European Union free trade agreement, rating it a 5.3. One CEO spoke of the importance of establishing international partnerships beyond the U.S. “Spreading our global trade amongst other strong nation groups is essential to break the headlock the U.S. has on our economy.”

Though CEOs are supportive of international business opportunities, they weren’t as enthused about loans to help new Canadians acquire skills and training. They rated this proposal a 4.4, the lowest on the list.

In terms of helping Canadians grow their savings, CEOs supported the Conservative promise to double the Tax Free Savings Account limit. They also endorse the establishment of a pooled registered pension plan for the self-employed.

CEOs were in favour of extending the 50% straight-line accelerated capital cost allowance, which allows businesses to write off investments in machinery and equipment against taxable income more rapidly. According to one: “Expanding our ability to create productive and large manufacturing operations is necessary for Ontario and Quebec, which do not have the resource base other provinces have.” Not surprisingly, execs also hope the government stays on track to make Canadian corporate tax rates the lowest in the G7 by 2012, rating the initiative a 5.3.

Most of all, Canadian CEOs were relieved the government was getting back to business. As one exec put it: “Thankfully, the election is over, and maybe now the politicians can get focused on running the country.”