Mr. Speaker, before we were interrupted for question period, I was talking about the process. I was suggesting that perhaps the Liberals, instead of reading the talking points generated by their leadership, should be listening to some experts. I have three experts I was talking about.
I am going to go back to the quote from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. This is a group that prides itself on trying to be non-partisan, but in this case, it had to talk policy. We are talking about the process. It said:
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 and implying poor character on their part if they employ tax planning strategies that were established many years ago, to encourage the growth and sustainability of innovation and entrepreneurship and to compensate small business owners for the higher level of risk they undertake in their venture, compared to that of an employee.
That is a very important group in Canada that represents business owners.
The next person I want to quote is a tax accountant, a very experienced person who works with small businesses. He was at a round table in the riding. Regarding the process, he said that there are consultation papers released all the time. They tend to be very mundane and very boring but are important to people like him. He said that the language in this release was very political. It said that the wealthy need to pay their fair share. The finance minister even tweeted that if people do not support changes then they oppose tax fairness.
The accountant said that this was supposed to be an open consultation, when the initial consultation paper and tweets from the finance minister indicated that it would be anything but. He went on to say that most of the organizations that will be impacted are not wealthy. They are mom-and-pop businesses, and they will be deeply affected. He said that the statement by the finance minister that it would not affect the middle class is absolutely false. It is not closing loopholes. These are policies that were developed for very purposeful reasons. As the chamber indicated, these are policies that were developed to support organizations, not loopholes. Even before the famous video by the member for Carleton about the pizza shop, he said that there is a pizza shop in the riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo that will also be impacted.
His next concern was the layers of bureaucracy for monitoring compliance. It will take a new horde of CRA auditors to monitor and watch that very nebulous language. This is an accountant who has very important knowledge and does this work all the time.
The next person who had something to say was an experienced tax lawyer. One of the things I thought was very interesting was that he said that tax changes are very complicated, and he doubts that most of the members in the House actually understand the implications and what the language in the proposed changes means. It is people like the accountant and the lawyer who really understand what is being proposed by the government. His bottom line was that the government has taken a sledgehammer when all it needed was a scalpel.
I suggest that the Liberals listen to these three experts, one who represents business, one who represents accounting organizations, and one who understands tax law. Perhaps they should look at the suggestion that we have an additional bit of a consultation period.
That is about the process. The process obviously has been botched. People are very upset. They are feeling insulted, hurt, and angry.
I want to talk about a couple of specific examples. First, I talked earlier about the ranching families in my riding. We were in a state of emergency until the long weekend in September. They are busy fixing their fences, looking for their cattle, and trying to recover their lives.
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.
Finally, when we were in Winnipeg, I met with an aboriginal entrepreneur. She said she has never had a grant and has never asked the government for money. She was a single mom and started a business with her sweat and tears and many sleepless nights, like so many entrepreneurs. She grew her business. She is now in a position where she wants to turn her business over to her son, and her accountant has said that it is going to be much more difficult for her. The government talks a lot about consultation. The Liberals should be asking themselves if they have talked to aboriginal entrepreneurs across this country.
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. I urge all Liberals to vote for the motion.