Turns out Conservatives can't grow businesses liberally. Go figure.
Since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister the World Bank reports that Canada has fallen from the 4th most business friendly nation to the 17th.
Data shows that not only has Canada fallen in rank, but the number of new businesses registered annually has gone down and since 2009 so has the number of total businesses with employees.
Doing Business, an annual report from the World Bank determining how hospitable a country is to small and medium sized firms recently ranked Canada 17th in the World, a steep drop from the 4th place position our country enjoyed when the federal Conservatives first took office.
The World Bank has also compiled the number of annual new business registrations in various countries, and it is no surprise that those countries that became more business friendly than Canada were more likely to have more start ups.
Though the World Bank only has data available for new business registrations between 2006 and 2009, the trend is clear; while Canada saw a decline in new businesses most other countries that were ranked more business friendly saw increases every year.
In 2007 Canada had 207,000 newly registered businesses, in 2009 that number decreased to 174,000. And though the economic downturn can be blamed, it cannot explain why at the same time more business friendly nations like Singapore, Finland, Georgia, and Sweden increased the amount of new businesses registered every year. The number of new businesses in the United Kingdom did go down but not even close in scope to the Canadian fall. American statistics were not available.
With less business friendly policies and less businesses being created every year, it is easy to see why Industry Canada reports that there are fewer and fewer businesses with employees in Canada. In 2009 there were 1,137,681 businesses in with registered employees, in 2011 that number shrank to only 1,122,306 (See below for comparison of Industry Canada's tables)
It could be argued that our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not responsible for any of this. That the provinces are to blame for Canada being less business friendly and that the global economic downturn has only made things worse. Such an argument however not only ignores the fact that the World Bank ranked Canada tougher on business because of our inefficiencies at trading across borders (Again, table below) but also ignores the fact that there is only one level of government responsible for the business environment across Canada, and that's the federal government.
Not only has Stephen Harper failed to better improve the business conditions that fall under federal jurisdiction, like increasing access to credit for small and medium businesses, making taxes more efficient, and streamlining border trade processes, he has failed to work with provinces to change their policies to help make Canada more attractive to our own entrepreneurs and to those of other countries.
Indeed our Prime Minister even recently rejected attending a meeting with all of our country's Premiers where he could have attempted to turn around his poor Conservative record along with our faltering economy.
Besides making it tougher for businesses in Canada, this government has created the largest deficits and the biggest government in terms of spending, all the while productivity has continued to decrease. Conservatives often compare running government to running a business, seeing how poorly they've been with government, it should be no surprise that they are so poor with business.
(In regards to the World Bank table on the right it should be noted that increased delays and costs were not attributable to our American neighbour across the border. Over the same time the United States' costs to export have only gone from $625 to $1090, and costs to import have gone from $625 to $1315. The United States has also decreased the amount of documents required as well as their time to export from 9 to 6 days.)