BENEFITS BY SECTOR: SMALL
The small business owner in Western Canada works until at least the end of June or beginning of July (depending on which Western province he lives in) just to pay his taxes, as do all his customers. The high amount of taxes is due to the high cost of government -- patronage programs that rarely help the West, costs of financing the deficit (where the beneficiaries are powerful central Canadian banks), duplication of governments and government functions (we have a minimum of 4 levels of government, and a maximum of 5, again depending upon the western province you live in.)
Because of the high taxes, the small business owner has no excess money to invest in research, product development, replacing old equipment, expanding his business, or simply to put aside for an emergency.
The small business owner has to pay his employees a substantial slice of his productive pie because his employees are stuck with the same high living costs that he is. These result in a large measure from the high costs of manufactured goods, either imported from outside Canada or from Central Canada. Because of the high labour costs in Western Canada, there is constant (and growing) labour strife.
Transportation policies of the Canadian system have traditionally ensured that it costs more to ship from West to East than from East to West, so that a Western manufacturer will not be able to compete with an Eastern manufacturer. This is particularly noticeable in rail freight rates, which aids in keeping 80% of Canada's manufacturing in Central Canada.
THE HIGH COST OF MATERIALS:
In light manufacturing or assembly industries, federal tariffs and quotas on imported items such as steel are designed to keep Central heavy industry such as Algoma steel in business. In retail businesses, the same tariffs and quotas push up the price of goods, to discourage imports and encourage Central Canadian manufacturers, for example in the boot and shoe industry and the textile industry. This may protect Central Canada, but it penalizes small business, whose profit margins are very sensitive.
METRICATION AND BILINGUALISM:
Although never asked when the original legislation was imposed upon Canada, the small business owner has had to adjust and pay for government policies like metrication and bilingualism, which do affect his business. Because the cost of switching to the metric system was so high in the first place, now that there is a chance that the system may not be compulsory, business does not want to have to switch back again. This shows the stupidity of such measures.
Bilingualism is another area where the average person was not consulted, yet ends up paying. Labels must be in French and English, and the costs of such a move all contributes to slowly squeezing the small business owner who has to watch expenses.
As well as the monetary cost of metrication and bilingualism for the small business owner, there is also the cost in freedom. These policies only mean more restrictions and more excuses for the bureaucrats to get involved in what was once a bastion of independence.
A HIGH COST OF FUEL:
What single factor of everyday life has more to do with driving costs up than that of gasoline, and other fuels? Everytime the price of gasoline goes up, everyone's costs go up. As well, the consumers who keep the small business person in business, have less money to spend. The high cost of fuel has resulted from government taxes through the attempt to "Canadianize" the oil and gas industry (i.e. nationalize) it through Petrocan, etc.
This is the process of transferring wealth between the so-called "have" provinces (i.e. B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan in the West) and the "have-not" provinces. This has always taken more from Western Canada than it has given back. This increases each year, to the point where now about $12 billion per year is now taken from the west [as at January 1985], and not returned. Although the small business owner may not be able to conceptualize what this does to him or her, consider the effects of that amount of money remaining in Western Canada, and being spent there. Not only would our present businesses be in better shape, but there would be greater development and more diversity.
These problems for the small business owner would be solved by Western Independence.
Western Canada would have lower taxes by about ½. Why? Where do your taxes go today? To the vast federal handouts, that benefit mostly Central Canadian industries and companies like Ford, Chrysler, Massey Ferguson, Canadair, Bombardier, Maislin, etc. Your tax money goes also for such policies as bilingualism and metrication. This money goes not only to make unpopular changes in Western Canadian life, but also to publicize and "sell" them to us. For example, look at the $1.5 million that Lloyd Axworthy, when he was Transport Minister, spent merely to convince Western Canadian farmers that the Crowsnest Pass Freight Rate should be abolished.
Other pointless endeavours that were paid for from the taxes of small business people, were the Canadian Unity Information Office and its propaganda, outrageous foreign aid projects to build monuments in Marxist countries, moves to bolster the sinking Canadian dollar, patronage, helping out crown corporations that can't make it without help from small businesses tax monies, DREE grants, and many other schemes and dreams that Western Canadians wouldn't have in their own nation.
CHEAPER, SIMPLER GOVERNMENT:
A major complaint of small business today is the bureaucratic control over their affairs. While there is likely to be some degree of the same thing in a nation of Western Canada, the size of the country and the fact that it was chosen by the people to be streamlined and closer to the people governed will make a big difference. The possibility also exists that one or more levels of government could be eliminated totally by the form of government chosen in the independence referendum. It is not necessary to have, for example, two departments of agriculture, etc., as we now have within Canada. This duplication only adds costs and bureaucratic control.
Labour costs would be reduced as the cost of living was reduced. The cost of living would be reduced by making Western Canada a free-trading nation with the world. Today [January 1985] the West is a captive market of 6.8 million people whose only suppliers of the materials of manufacturing or retailing are Central, tariff-protected sources at higher than world market prices, or foreign tariff-restricted sources. Free trade would give small business owners and consumers alike the choice of goods from the lowest and best in the world. Our businesses would be stronger too, by competing right from the start with the world and developing products suited to Western Canadian resources in both materials and expertise. Free trade would foster this, in contrast to protectionism, which has only weakened the industries of Central Canada.
We would be paying 30% - 50% less for our manufactured goods. Just think if you as a retailer could import your goods for 30%-50% less and sell them to the consumer for less. Just think of a marketplace where consumers had that much more money to spend. Labour costs will decline, production costs all round will decline. Debt will decline, and there will be more surpluses to invest in business. It all adds up to a thriving economy, where producers are rewarded instead of penalized as they now are in the Canadian system.
The small business person is an individual, one who thrives on freedom. Canada today has become more and more restrictive, limiting the individual's ability to make choices and to stand or fall by them. The government's attempts to control everything is particularly frustrating to small business people, who often chose to work for themselves because they want to be free. In Western Canada, freedom would be fostered and protected; enterprising individuals would be encouraged.
Unnecessary and counterproductive measures like the compulsory metrication and bilingualism policies of Canada would not exist in Western Canada, where English would be the common "official" language and measurement would be a matter of choice. A variety of cultural backgrounds exists in Western Canada, and the expression of these would be encouraged, though not at public expense.
There are many other benefits from an independent new nation of Western Canada, that would add to the general well-being of the small business owner, as well as everyone else. These would be indirect,
A regionally-elected Senate would balance the "rep by pop" House of Commons in Western Canada, to give equal power to every province of the West in the legislative process; that way, there would never be an "Ontario of Western Canada" to the detriment of the less populated provinces.
The Judiciary would be elected or appointed by Western Canadians, and would be closer to our interests, and not a patronage haven for Central Canadian power as it now is.
Referendum, initiative and recall would be a constitutional right in the constitution of Western Canada, to give each citizen a voice between elections, and a great new meaning to the word "citizen." It would be a way of ensuring politicians remained true to the people that elected them, and that matters of great public controversy and interest could be directly decided by the people.
Control of the immigration problem, by us, would help control our unemployment problem.
The protection of our land and heritage by a government of, by and for the people of Western Canada would make a wonderful future for our children, giving them hope instead of the despair so common among today's young people.
The building of our own military, equipped and raised in Western Canada would protect us.
No more the national deficit of Canada, high interest rates, foreign control and banks whose interests are against the property of individuals.
There are many reasons for Western Independence. Read about them in The Western Separatist Papers.