In September, 1939, after Germany invaded Poland, Britain, which had an obligation under a treaty to defend the nation, the then weak Prime Minister Chamberlain ignored that requirement and dithered.
The public and the House of Commons were indignant and a cry rose in the House. Arthur Greenwood, a prominent Labour MP, stood up and shouted, “Speak for England!” Belatedly, the following day, Chamberlain announced that Britain had gone to war.
Now, in a different context, the Canadian major political parties are silent regarding a vocal comment about business.
The Conservative Party has no leader after Harper’s resignation, the NDP has a different point of view, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is focused on a divergent series of policies. The result is that there is almost no outspoken support for business.
Trudeau gives lip service to free trade and seems hesitant to support a new pipeline for fear of offending indigenous people. Trudeau is concentrating on new government spending which, incidentally, the nation cannot afford.
There is little vocal support for a major tax overhaul, to reduce capital gains taxes and to eliminate all the onerous regulations that have such a negative impact on business. The usual vocal support that should be forthcoming from the Chambers of Commerce is absent.
Business finds itself in a crisis as some are trying to micromanage the business cycle while government spending soars. However, business has contributed to the problem, divided by those who are contented with things as they are and Main Street which wants more support for many business endeavours.
According to Frank Luntz, a Republican political consultant, of the three age groups, those of the 18 to 26 group respected bankers and only six percent admired business people.
Those are terrible headwinds for business to surmount. Business needs to have a spokesman attacking our derelict education system and government spending which is not a cure-all for what ails the economy. Labour has strong advocates but with the result, in the public sector, some pay standards are simply outlandish.
Many years ago an American president, Calvin Coolidge, said that business is what makes the world go around.
Alas, we need more of that attitude to counter-balance all the negativity that abounds about the business community.
“Speak for business!” is a cry that should get some resonance.