Last week, Justin Trudeau put out a statement to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week. “The Government of Canada,” he said, “is working to remove barriers so that entrepreneurship can continue to thrive.” That sounds nice, except for the “continue to” part: entrepreneurship has not thrived under his government at all. Statistics Canada reports that despite significant population growth between 2015 and 2022, the number of Canadians who were self-employed and who employed other people for pay fell 11 per cent. Contrast this decline in entrepreneurs to the 18 per cent growth in public sector employment over the same period. The two statistics are connected. Adding to government employment takes away money and resources that businesses and entrepreneurs need to establish themselves and grow.
The next sentence of Trudeau’s statement underlines his misunderstanding of entrepreneurship. In it he promotes government program spending and “federal initiatives including the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program, and the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program.” His view on ensuring entrepreneurship can thrive is that it all has to do with giving handouts to select government-favoured entrepreneurs, with favour based mainly on their skin colour, racial background, sex or sexual orientation. But to give handouts to some Canadians government must take from others. By redistributing capital based on politics and identity instead of allowing markets to guide it to where it is most productive, Trudeau squashes business and entrepreneurship.
It may be argued that certain segments of the population are relatively disadvantaged and so should receive government support, but thenRead more on financialpost.com