‘Ren­dezvous with re­al­ity’ for Morneau

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau has been re­ceiv­ing a lot of crit­i­cism on­line and across the air­waves. No doubt his in­box and mail­box are fill­ing up too. Cana­dian en­trepreneurs and busi­ness own­ers are up­set with his pro­posed changes to cor­po­rate taxes.

And now he’s learned this up-close and per­sonal.

On Fri­day, Morneau took a drub­bing at a con­sul­ta­tion ses­sion in Oakville. He was there to lis­ten to peo­ple’s thoughts on the pro­posed changes. And boy they were sure not afraid to belt it out.

The meet­ing “boiled over more than once into a shout­ing match”, as the Cana­dian Press re­ported. No one should be sur­prised at that. Morneau and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau have con­sis­tently said this is about fair­ness. But to many Cana­dian busi­ness peo­ple, it’s far from fair.

We fully sup­port go­ing after tax cheats and scam­mers. If the Canada Rev­enue Agency needs to hire a few more hands to en­sure com­pli­ance, then go for it.

What we don’t get is why Morneau needs to do away with in­come sprin­kling and the rules around pas­sive in­vest­ment in­come. It’s never been fully ex­plained.

The Lib­er­als have man­aged to pit Cana­di­ans against each other, hav­ing them be­lieve pro­fes­sion­als like doc­tors are some­how cheats.

Mean­while, the truth is that many peo­ple who own their own cor­po­ra­tions just op­er­ate in a dif­fer­ent land­scape than salaried work­ers.

They don’t have com­pany pen­sions or parental leave top ups, to cite just two well-known dif­fer­ences.

Even Cana­di­ans not di­rectly af­fected by these changes are be­gin­ning to re­al­ize there could be un­in­tended con­se­quences.

“The med­i­cal pro­fes­sion is specif­i­cally tar­geted by this mea­sure as we can­not pass on our in­creased costs to our pa­tients; fees are set by the gov­ern­ment,” On­tario doc­tor Mark D’Souza wrote in a re­cent Post­media Net­work op-ed.

“A sub­stan­tial por­tion of physi­cian billings go to­wards over­head. There­fore, how can pa­tient care re­main un­af­fected by these mea­sures?”

Con­ser­va­tive fi­nance critic Pierre Poilievre ob­served that Fri­day morn­ing’s heated meet­ing was Morneau’s “ren­dezvous with re­al­ity”. No kid­ding.

Now that Morneau’s hear­ing di­rectly from Cana­di­ans, will he lis­ten to them? When the Lib­er­als fi­nally put for­ward draft leg­is­la­tion, they’d be wise to lis­ten to the many af­fected Cana­di­ans.

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