News Podcast

Huddle Talks Election With Dr. J.P. Lewis

SAINT JOHN–Does it matter to the New Brunswick business community who wins the upcoming federal election? Well, that all depends, according to UNBSJ political science professor J.P. Lewis.

Listen to Part I of the podcast below. 

“I think it really depends on people’s perspective on the role of government in helping business. Whether they should set-up conditions that are favourable for business . . . or if they should get directly involved in investment and subsidies to certain industries or business.”

When it comes to this election, Lewis says all the parties appear to have relatively “business friendly” approaches.

“Even if you look at the platforms, something like small business tax, it appears that all the parties want to get it down from 11 to 9 per cent. So there we don’t see much off a difference,” Lewis says.

When it comes to what party to support, he says it depends what business you’re in.

“You might be in some green energy field and see very specific programs in some of the party’s platforms that appeal to you. Or maybe the trade-deal the Tories have been pushing really helps your industry.”

But why care though? They’re on Parliament Hill and you’re in New Brunswick. The changes that affect you happen through the provincial government right?

Maybe. But you got to keep in mind where the province is getting much of its money from.

“You can always tie those back to the federal government because in New Brunswick, we rely so much on transfers coming from the federal government to either to the provincial government or individuals as a source of revenue to keep out economy going,” Lewis says.

Unfortunately, equalization payment formulas are not usually discussed during the grand campaign. What are discussed, however, are benefits for a specific sector or market.

“The policy positions and the things they put on platforms can be so specifically targeted. They become so niche. We see them with these different tax credits that becomes so boutique and you think ‘who would ever thing of making that a write-off.'”

Well that’s (not) helpful. Why do they do that?

It’s simple. Marketing is more effective than ideology.

“Political marketing is a really important thing for parties developing their platform now. So as soon as you get into that, that you’re developing ideas out of marketing, you’re getting away from ideas coming out of ideology”

Cleary, J.P Lewis is a very smart man.
Hear more of what he has to say in our two-part special election Huddle Podcast: