Madam Speaker, the Liberal government's tax change proposals will hurt the very people it says it wants to help. I have received hundreds and hundreds of letters from constituents who are opposed to this, and just a single letter in support of the changes.
Those writing have made it very clear that they are not the wealthy 1%, but mostly middle-class Canadians who have taken risks to start their own businesses and create their own jobs in the community. Many have laid bare the dire consequences these changes will have for their business and their families. These small business owners warn that they will have to reduce staff, which will raise unemployment at a time when we cannot afford to lose more jobs in Alberta. Others have spoken of their need to consider cutting back on their community support and charitable donations just to keep their business profitable.
It has not been lost on Canadians that the Liberal government chose the middle of the summer to conduct their consultations in an effort to pull a fast one on Canadians. It is clear that the Liberal government did not really want to hear from Canadians and remains determined to proceed with the changes no matter what. The Liberals' indignant attitude is both reckless and offensive to taxpayers.
A constituent, Joseph Klassen, wrote, “I am a small business owner. I employ 12 people and the annual payroll for this staff runs about $1.25 million. This may appear small to others, but I feel we employ these people giving them a reasonable living while making a positive contribution to the Canadian economy. Once you remove the incentive of being able to earn a reasonable financial return on my total business investment, I will have to consider the possibility of closing this business.”
Dr. Peter Samuels wrote to me and said, “The government's proposed tax changes for private corporations will make it more difficult for physicians to provide the quality of care that their patients deserve. These proposed changes will harm patients, physicians and their families. Small business owners and their many employees will be harmed. Communities and the Canadian economy will suffer. I encourage the Finance Minister in the strongest terms not to implement the proposed tax changes for private corporations.”
Brian, a constituent of mine, said, “I am a small business owner in Alberta, and have been since 2010. Last year my personal income was less than $50,000. I have had to lay off 23 people due to the downturn in the economy, and the relentless increase in taxes directly affecting my company. Over the past 6 months, we have finally seen a bottom to the Alberta economy, yet with the backdrop of all the tax increases, I have little interest in increasing our staffing at this time.”
Finally, a constituent, Linda Goode, wrote, “I voted Liberal in the last election. At a conceptual level, I support much of the liberal platform. However, I struggle with some of the tactics for achieving that platform. More specifically I am appalled by the proposed tax changes that will directly impact my partner and I as small business owners and as members of the middle class. My partner and I are both 63 years old. We have 'lived like students' for decades. We have sacrificed a great deal so that we could be financially independent in retirement and not be a burden on society. 'Changing the rules' on retained earnings, directly and dramatically impacts our financial security. At our age we have run out of time in terms of our earning capacity to offset the impacts of the proposed tax changes. The government's attempt to create greater fairness certainly has missed the mark for us.”
I could go on. I have hundreds of letters like these, but like those who wrote to me, I do not think the Liberal government is listening anyway.