Message Posted: Apr 29, 2009 11:13:08 AM
Mike Fellows, an economics professor at Mount Royal College shared some stories with me this week about the late Bob Blair. His legacy goes beyond being one of the icons of Calgary's oilpatch, helping lead energy giants like Nova and Husky. In an email, Mike also told be about Blair's plan to help reduce Canada's debt ...."During the worst period of the highest federal government of Canada deficits in the late 1980s and early 1990s Blair made an offer to the prime minister. He pointed out that Blair and other leading business entrepreneurs in Canada (roughly the top 100 or so) could pay off the federal deficit and make a pretty good contribution to reducing the debt to a reasonable level all on their own. The thing he suggested is that if they did this the government of Canada should not increase taxes on the poorest of society and should not cut social programs that went to single moms and children. It was and is radical stuff but Blair explained (rightly) that the top business leaders had the personal wealth to do it without ending up poor (meaning they would not sink form being rich to being middle class) and that their wealth had been accumulated by using Canada as the base for their operations and within Canadian Law. By contrast he explained that the increasing the regressive forms of tax (GST etc) and removing social programs aimed at the poor would not provide enough money to prevent the deficits of the next few years and would lead to the country having a generation of children who had not benefited from a good education and health programs and would likely have less to contribute to production and income generation in the future.
The government did not take him up on the offer..."
I wonder how many of Canada's super wealthy would have bought into this plan.