Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix for raising this tax equity issue. We held consultations with Canadians, which gave us the opportunity to hear a variety of opinions, from coast to coast to coast.
On the important topic of tax planning using private corporations, the proposals put forward by our government on this issue are at the heart of our plan to help the middle class.
I can hear my colleague complaining, but I have the right to respond in either language. The member will notice that I always answer in French during question period because it is important to me. I will make an effort to speak French since she is asking me to.
Our plan seeks to reduce inequality because we have noticed that some inequities have found their way into our tax system. Our government recognizes that small businesses are at the very heart of our economy and that they create a lot of jobs for the middle class. We are committed to always supporting business owners, no matter what the size of their company, so that they can continue to stimulate the Canadian economy as they have been successfully doing for years.
Our government supports these small businesses, but our tax system is very competitive. We have the lowest small business tax rate in the G7, and that will not change. However, we want to ensure that our tax system is fair.
In budget 2017, the government indicated that it intended to address the issue of tax planning strategies using private corporations. These strategies give wealthy individuals access to tax benefits that are out of reach for the vast majority of Canadians. We have seen that a growing number of Canadians, often high-income individuals, are using private corporations to unfairly reduce their income taxes.
For example, an individual who earns $300,000 per year and has a spouse and two adult children can use a private company to save tax roughly equivalent to the average Canadian income, which is $48,000 per year. We think that is unfair. It was legal and legitimate for Canadians to use this private company provision in the past, but that does not mean it was fair. We want to fix this inequity in our tax system.
That is why, in July, the Minister of Finance launched consultations about tax planning strategies used by private companies. The government's proposed solutions have been the subject of much public comment and debate, and, as we all know, some business owners and incorporated professionals have expressed concern they might be penalized by these measures.
That is why the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Small Business and Tourism went on a cross-Canada tour. They wanted to meet with Canadians to hear about their concerns first-hand. I was a part of that too.
Our government listened to small business owners, middle-class entrepreneurs, professionals, and experts during our consultations and we will take action based on what we heard and people's concerns.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Canadians who contributed to the conversation. I would also like to thank the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix for her question.