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Federal election has major implications for CRE sector

It seems like just yesterday that Justin Trudeau shocked Western Canadians with a decisive victor...

It seems like just yesterday that Justin Trudeau shocked Western Canadians with a decisive victory in the 2015 federal election.

However, it’s been a brisk four years and now everyone’s hitched back up on the old campaign trail. As is the season, all parties are setting their plans forward for Canadians should they get a chance to lead.

I may have to read between the lines a little, but is there anything in these election promises for the commercial real estate industry?

Trade a key sector

Commercial real estate investing is highly affected by trade relations. The interaction of businesses at home and abroad is reflected in the real estate needs of suppliers and distributors.

So what, if anything, are the candidates offering for trade?

The Conservatives would like to implement an interprovincial free trade agreement and appoint a minister to oversee it.

The Bloc Quebecois has openly criticized the new NAFTA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA) and would seek to introduce a bill to protect supply management.

The Greens would revamp the national trade policy so it aligns with climate change plans both nationally and internationally.

The Liberals are proposing a Canada Free Tribunal to resolve domestic trade issues in addition to installing a legal assistance service for trade disputes.

The NDP would focus on trade unions within the trade remedy system, while improving transparency in trade negotiations and calling for the required use of Canadian steel in infrastructure projects across the country.

Little guys

There is some focus on small business, which certainly has an impact on the sales and leasing activity within Canada’s commercial real estate industry.

The Liberals are proposing the end of what are called swipe fees for GST and HST which retailers must pay to credit card companies. They are also promising to set up a fund to assist up to 2,000 entrepreneurs a year.

The NDP would also like to go after those credit card fees, in addition to adding legislation to end what they deem as unfair tax implications for the transfer of small businesses within families.

The Conservatives would repeal tax increases imposed by the Liberal government on small business investments. They’d exempt spouses on tax increases affected by small business dividends and overall reduce federal regulations to speed up red tape.

The Greens would continue the current taxation level for small business.

Big boys

Corporate taxes, as with any expenses, impact the bottom lines of large companies and their appetites for real estate investments.

The Bloc Quebecois would put a three per cent tax on the Canadian revenue of global technology giants, as well as cracking down on tax havens.

The Liberals agree on the tech tax to some degree. They would, however, cut corporate taxes for business developing technologies producing zero emissions.

The Conservatives have said they will repeal business subsidiaries in the range of $1.5 billion.

The NDP would like to see tax havens and loopholes closed, in addition to rolling tax cuts back to 2010 levels.

The Greens have identified multiple changes they’d make to corporate taxes, including: ending offshore tax dodging, implementing a “robot tax” on companies replacing workers with machines, increasing federal corporate tax from 15 to 21 per cent and charging a five per cent tax on commercial bank profits (exempting credit unions and co-ops).

Pot is off the table

A big shakeup to our commercial leasing market has been the introduction of legalized cannabis shops across Canada.

The Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives and NDP have no immediate plans to reopen the conversation and have not included any cannabis discussion in their platforms.

The Liberals have only identified that the cannabis extracts, edibles and topical products are becoming legal on Oct. 17.

The Greens are proposing to remove obstacles on cannabis production and sales. They’d like to lower federal prices to compete with the black market, eliminate plastics in packaging, remove sales tax on medicinal pot and impose standards for organic production.

Let’s call it

As of today, political pundits are putting it at a dead heat between the Conservatives and Liberals.

There are multiple ways to cast your vote. Election day is set for Monday, Oct. 21.

To find your polling station check your vote information card or see Elections Canada.

If you can’t make that date, advance starts on Friday, Oct 11 and runs through the weekend to Monday, Oct 14.

I know which way I’m leaning; do you have your mind set yet?

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