Remarks by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 on the Liberals’ tax-reform plan.
… THE LIBERALS have indicated that we would have a lot of time to discuss this through legislation, but that is totally inaccurate. This might be the only opportunity in the House to talk about something that would impact so many small businesses across my riding.
There has been nothing since I was elected in 2008 that has created more of a reaction in my community than these particular proposed changes. There have been emails, people coming to the offices, and people phoning. They are angry, upset, and very concerned, and so this has really mobilized them. I do not think anyone should underestimate how important these changes are.
I will talk first about the process, and then I will talk about the implications. I think at the very end, members will understand that having an extension is a very reasonable request, and we are only asking to extend this until the end of January 2018.
On the implications of the process, this paper was released on July 18 during the period of summer that is called the dog days for a reason. It tends to be when people are focused on their opportunities for vacation and to enjoy time with family. They do not tend to be engaged in the political process during the dog days of summer.
However, of particular importance for the riding I represent, on July 7 in B.C. one of the first wildfires broke out and the province of British Columbia was in a state of emergency. We had thousands of people evacuated over the coming months, and there were many issues. Therefore, I can assure the Liberals that there was no sort of review of this particular proposal during that time.
Indeed, one of my ranchers had been evacuated, her fences were burnt, and her cattle were missing. She stopped by the post office to get a letter from her accountant, which told her what the implication of these changes would be. Can members imagine being devastated, with their fences burnt and cows missing, and then getting something from their accountant saying that the Liberals were going to make significant changes?
However, members do not have to take my word for this, because we are not the tax experts. There are tax experts out there, and they are not the Liberal talking points on this issue. I have three tax experts, and one is a representative from the business community, the chamber of commerce. It prides itself on being a non-partisan organization, and this is what it had to say:
…it is very unfortunate that the federal government has chosen to position this in terms of “fairness” and “loopholes.” The tax strategies being followed date back to the 1960s and have been refined and tested over many decades. The federal government has engaged in rhetoric that divides the country, directly stating that small business owners do not “contribute” to the wellbeing of the country….
… How can Liberals actually suggest that there has been adequate time for consultation, when people across British Columbia have been dealing with very difficult circumstances all summer? Tourism businesses have been incredibly impacted by the fire season. People do not have time right now to even consider what the changes are going to mean, much less provide meaningful consultation.
There is a reasoned argument to continue this consultation period, at least into January. It is certainly unprecedented to have so many dramatic changes in such a short time, during the dog days of summer and during an emergency situation in British Columbia.