Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced angry doctors at a town hall in Kelowna, B.C., Wednesday evening who worry proposed changes to the small business tax regime unfairly target members of their profession.
Monica Penner, a physician in the city, said Trudeau was sending the wrong message to students studying to become doctors by cracking down on tax planning measures they could use later to keep more of their incomes.
While she conceded she met with her accountant Wednesday and learned nothing would change for her personally, she said it’s wrong for the government to curtail passive investments, a tax planning measure physicians have come to rely on to shelter money earmarked for retirement.
“The tax system has, built into it ,things that disproportionately advantage the wealthiest Canadians,” Trudeau said in response. “We know that, we’ve seen the graphs that show middle class incomes have stagnated over the last 30 years while the wealthiest one per cent have benefited more and more.”
Trudeau and other Liberal MPs are in Kelowna for meetings ahead of their return to parliament later this month. Many of the conversations at the retreat have been centred upon the government’s proposals to tighten tax rules around small businesses, a move they say will level the playing field between wage earners and proprietors.
Some 40 Liberal MPs asked questions of Finance Minister Bill Morneau Wednesday during meetings, hoping to get clarity on measures that have proven deeply unpopular with small business owners across the country, Liberal sources told CBC News.
“We put forward proposals that we’re getting a lot of feedback on, and quite frankly a lot of people are worried … but let me be absolutely clear there is nothing in these proposals that are targeting small, middle class businesses,” Trudeau said.
‘Moving the goal posts’
Anita Sanan, also a doctor in the area, accused Trudeau of “moving the goal posts” on physicians after they’ve come to rely on certain measures to hold on to more of their incomes.
“We were given these tax strategies, legally, in lieu of fee increases that have been stagnant in this country over the last ten years,” she said.
I’m having to choose between having a family and actually practising as a physician.
– Anita Sanan, physician in Kelowna
The number of Canadian-controlled private corporations has increased some 50 per cent since the early 2000s, according to the finance department….