Small business will vote no on transit tax: CFIB

A business group votes no on transit and Telus records an increase in profits

A hard no
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business—the province’s largest small business group—declared in no uncertain terms that its members overwhelmingly reject the proposed TransLink sales tax increase. That verdict came from a poll of a selection of its members in which 80 per cent of respondents voted “no” and only 17 per cent “yes.” Nor do its members see transit improvements as much of an issue: 60 per cent said that TransLink can make do with existing revenues. When asked—under the premise that TransLink needs more money—which is the best alternative to the sales tax, 37 per cent said high transit fares, 41 per cent said mobility pricing on roads, and 33 per cent said a vehicle levy. 260 members responded to the poll. 

“[We’re] hearing lots of concern from small business owners,” tweeted Dan Kelly, the organization’s president, in January before the organization took a formal stance. With nearly every regional chamber of commerce—bar Langley’s—joining the Yes coalition, the CFIB is the most high-profile organization to join the No coalition, which is being led by the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation.   

The last quarter was friendly
Telus capped a strong 2014 with 6.1 per cent growth in revenues year-over-year, driven by a boost in customers at its wireless business. Revenues hit $3.1 billion, while profit increased 7.6 per cent, to $312 million from $290 million the previous year. Telus chairman (and former CEO) Darren Entwistle credited the telecom’s ability to add customers—and keep them—for driving revenue growth. 538,000 new customers signed up with wireless, TV or Internet service last year. “These results drove robust financial performance,” said Entwistle in a statement

Bad year for miners
Teck, hit had by the mining slump, recorded less than stellar results in the final quarter of 2014. Revenues over the whole of 2014 fell by more than a third from $3.7 billion in 2013 to $2.9 billion, while profit attributable to shareholders fell from $1 billion in 2013 to $452 million. The culprit: the surplus of metal making coal on the market (thanks to increased supply from Australia) and a weak market for copper and zinc. 

“Although 2014 was a challenging year with significantly lower prices for some of our key products, our operations performed well, setting various production records and generating positive cash flows at all sites,” said Don Lindsay, Teck president and CEO, in a statement.