It all started in a bathtub...
One evening in 1969, John Bulloch, a teacher at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, was soaking in his tub and reading the new federal White Paper on taxation. He was infuriated to see it proposed a 50% tax rate for Canadian small businesses.
"The government had exempted the powerful from many of its proposals, and proceeded to hammer small business and middle-income Canadians."
Galvanized, Bulloch wrote the Finance Minister to denounce the White Paper and reproduced the letter in a newspaper ad. "No one expected the response this letter received," he recalled. "The telephones went off the wall for almost six hours."
Bulloch and his supporters formed the Canadian Council for Fair Taxation and launched an all-out attack on the White Paper. Bulloch was featured in a national magazine -- the exposure was just what they needed. Support poured in from across the country and public rallies in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Saint John drew huge crowds. In Toronto, 3,300 people converged on the Royal York Hotel and 500 more were turned away for lack of space.
In the end, the White Paper was withdrawn and the Canadian Council for Fair Taxation wound down, but Bulloch was left with the conviction that small-and medium-sized businesses needed better representation.
Inspired by an American small business group that combined a direct-mail voting concept with personal interviews, Bulloch built on that idea, adding research gathered in the field that formed the basis for media and political action campaigns to influence government policies.
That was the blueprint for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, founded in 1971. Today, CFIB is able to provide independent business with an unparalleled presence in the corridors of power, light years from the world that existed before its founding.