FinMin Joe Oliver admitted last week that his department had outsourced government policy to the lobby group Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and further, had not done their own analysis of CFIB's work even though the lobby group represents the businesses the new policy was intended to benefit. The new CFIB/FinMin policy takes $500M from the EI fund and gives it to small businesses - ostensibly to create jobs.
CFIB wasted no time taking credit for this piece of government policy.
On their webpage CFIB shows this photo of CFIB President Dan Kelly at the government's "Jobs and Opportunities" dedecked lectern, with FinMin Joe standing demurely off to the side.
A sidebar on the main page headlined "We Make a Difference - Victories" boasts :
"Big breakthrough on payroll taxes: CFIB joined federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver to announce the creation of the Small Business Job Credit".
CFIB certainly has the right to flaunt their influence over Con policy.
Two and a half years ago, they announced their success in lobbying the government "to make the Temporary Foreign Worker Program more responsive to the needs of employers", including a 10-day response time to LMOs, "a simplified online application process", and "a new more flexible wage structure".
In fact, over the past four years from Nov 2010 to Nov 2014, Con MPs have quoted the CFIB more than 280 times in the House and in committee on everything from the Wheat Board to Canada Post to the temporary foreign workers program to federal budgets.
Here's a few from one week this past October :
With CEO Dan Kelly sitting on the Advisory Committee to the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the CFIB currently have 46 lobbyists listed to lobby 39 separate government institutions on 28 matters of policy for the year 2014, including "fair access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program" and "support for Bill C525 (An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code) that secret ballot voting should be mandatory prior to union certification."
At left, also from Press Progress, is the short version of the apparently joint $550M CFIB/FinMin EI policy.
Estimated to create 25,000 person-years of employment over the next several years, this figure was later corrected by the parliamentary budget officer to 800 jobs at a cost of $687,500 per job.
However CFIB President Dan Kelly explains the whole jobs jobs jobs thing wasn't even the point :
"The job-creation benefit of it is essentially secondary to the fact that this is essentially an EI cut because employers and employees should not have to pay higher EI premiums than is needed to pay for the cost of the program. So this is essentially returning EI rates back to their break-even level."
No fault to the CFIB here - they're just doing their job for their guys, 109,000 small and medium Canadian businesses and franchises.
Perhaps notable though is that according to their Contact page, the CFIB Exec Vice President was formerly Director of Environment and Regulatory Studies at the Koch-funded Fraser Institute while the VP of Communications interned there.