Friday, July 19, 2024
Magna Founder Frank Stronach says Canada's economy is like an out-of-control freight train heading off a cliff; however, all changes and corrections must be made "in a civilized way." Photo: Road Warrior News
Canada 2.0Feature/Profile

Stronach’s new mission: Regenerate Canada, in a civilized way

“Canada’s economic problems are like an out-of-control freight train heading off a cliff”

Frank Stronach has a plan to Regenerate Canada.

Ideally, his plan would reward initiative with profit-sharing, while rolling out a hiring freeze on government bureaucrats and reducing the national debt.

Founder of Magna International, Stronach is floating a white paper on regenerating Canada based upon his life’s experience building what is perhaps the nation’s most successful private sector empire. His proposal highlights every conservative’s wish list of platform items (reduce the debt; smaller government; education reform with an employment focus). However, surprisingly, it also includes a list of items with which even the most ardent socialists would have a difficult time arguing (school breakfasts AND lunches, and a flat tax system with no loopholes for favoured interest groups).

“The basic fact is, if the economy doesn’t work nothing else will. We won’t be able to feed the hungry and adequately care for the most fragile, the sick, the elderly and the handicapped,” Stronach stresses.

The auto-parts magnate worries that it would be impossible to launch a Magna-sized enterprise in the Canada of today.

“We’re trying to open an organic Farmer’s Market with capacity for 5,000 people,” he told a packed room of avid listeners at Ottawa’s McDonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) on March 21.

At “91 years young,” Frank Stronach spoke effortlessly for an hour, without notes. Photo: Road Warrior News

“It’s been years since we applied for the permit; municipal staff keep coming back to us with limitations. Hold-ups like this did not happen when we were putting up buildings and factories for Magna.”

At “91 years young,” Stronach still towers over even the most accomplished Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs. Arriving here as a tool and die maker in 1954 with $200 in his pocket, he built Magna International into one of the largest businesses on the globe, with 180,000 employees in 28 countries.

“Canada is a fabulous country,” he maintains. “I could have chosen any one of 35 countries to live in after the war. I chose Canada, and it has been a fabulous place to live and build a business.”

Stronach is worried, however, that the nation he chose to call “home” 70 years ago has drifted off course and needs correction.

“Canada’s economic problems are like an out-of-control freight train heading off a cliff,” he says. “The interest on our debt alone is $110 million per day. What kind of burden are we leaving our children and grandchildren?”

Size of government is a fundamental part of the problem. “We need a hiring freeze on bureaucrats; we’ve got to reduce our bureaucracy. This is not the fault of the bureaucrats: it’s the fault of the system. This needs to be done in a civilized way.”

Stronach also despairs over Canada’s tax system.  “Our tax system is far too complicated,” he noted in his March 21st remarks. “We need a flat tax, with no loopholes. The loopholes only benefit the elite.”

Through the Stronach Foundation, Stronach has launched an “Economic Charter of Rights” with which he hopes to encourage people across Canada to develop a more entrepreneurial mindset. Looming large in his “Seven Point Plan” is his suggestions is profit-sharing for all employees.

“When we started profit-sharing, the business exploded,” he told the MLI. “The first year, profits went up 40 per cent.”

While profit-sharing may be the sexiest part of his plan, it does not stand alone. Stronach’s full seven point plan includes:

  • Balance the budget and eliminate the national debt
  • Reduce government regulations and overhead
  • Simplify our tax system
  • Kickstart Canada’s economy by enhancing free enterprise
  • Share profits with Canadian workers
  • Reform our education system
  • Teach our children about nutrition and provide organic food

The importance of nutrition for children is so fundamental, Stronach suggests, they should be provided breakfast when they arrive and school and lunch before they return home.

He thinks we keep adolescents in school far too long: “High school should end at Grade 10, and students should then have option to learn a trade. Young people who want to go to University will do so.

“We don’t make things anymore…look around any city. There are 20 times more offices than factories, and all they make there are regulations or financial transactions. We have to change this system.”

Click the white arrow at left to view the video. Video: RWN

Click the white arrow at left to view the video.