Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government was elected on a promise to grow the middle class and to help grow small business. Instead, Canadians have been left with massive deficits and ever-increasing debt, and a plan that only helps the government's rich Liberal cronies.
Once in office, the Liberals cancelled the planned small business tax reductions and EI tax reductions. They increased payroll taxes and introduced a federal carbon tax. They cut tax-free savings account contributions in half, ended the public transit tax credit, added a new tax on Uber, and raised taxes on beer, wine, and spirits. Then they tried to tax employee discounts and health and dental benefits. They have even raised taxes on Canadians with diabetes and disabilities. In short, Canadians have been bamboozled.
However, it does not stop there. The Liberals then dropped their hot mess of a tax planning proposal that would raise taxes on job creators and entrepreneurs, in a blatant attack on small business owners.
We have heard from the finance minister that hard-working Canadians have to pay their so-called fair share, while well-connected Liberals continue to protect their millions. As it turns out, the personal fortunes of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are safe from these new tax proposals. They, along with their well-connected cronies, are not going to pay a cent more in taxes.
This is what the Liberals are trying to pass off as fair. I suppose this should not come as a surprise, as the Prime Minister infamously insulted hard-working small business owners during the election by saying that he knows “that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes...”.
On top of all of this, the Liberals have decided that the real problem, the real tax evaders, are hard-working small business owners, whose businesses are actually considered to be too small to be classified as small business. How does that make any sense? We are not talking about millionaire crony, Stephen Bronfman, the Prime Minister's personal friend and the Liberals' chief fundraiser, who was alleged in the paradise papers to be evading taxes. No, the Liberals are targeting small business owners for being too small. I wish I were exaggerating, because it sounds like a comedy of errors.
The Liberals claim they have not changed the active versus passive income rules, but they have issued a new interpretation of these rules that will adversely affect many small businesses, such as campgrounds, by arbitrarily assigning their income as passive income, when the amount of work involved is anything but passive. Many campgrounds and other small businesses are now receiving huge new tax bills, more than three times the rate of other small businesses, simply because they do not have five full-time, year-round employees to qualify for the small business tax rate. Again, the Liberals are trying to tell them that somehow they are too small to be a small business.
These tax bills will put many of these small businesses right out of business. A business that is considered too small should not be a reason to exclude anyone from this tax rate, especially when entrepreneurs are often a part of the daily operations of their small businesses.
Does the minister really have the gall to stand in this place while there is an ongoing investigation by the Ethics Commissioner and to call hard-working mom and pop shops, like campgrounds, tax evaders?