Changing positions taxing

On Monday, the Liberal government announced it will abandon some of the proposed tax changes that had generated a considerable amount of concern and opposition throughout our region. 

Although it is unclear what the total scope of changes will be, any time a government listens to overwhelming opposition it deserves recognition.

My greater concern is the pattern that has emerged.

Over the past year, the Liberals have raised proposals to:

  • tax employer-provided health and dental benefits
  • finally close the stock option tax loophole
  • increase the small business tax
  • tax employee discounts. 

All of these measures the Liberals have since indicated they plan to abandon, raising the question what will be the next tax increase proposal? 

As the Liberals continue to run deficits much larger then they promised and have no path to return to a balanced budget until possibly close t2050, a plan will be needed to reconcile this situation.

Given that the Liberals continue to increase spending, most recently over $216,000 just to produce the cover of the most recent Budget document, it seems clear they will continue to look for ways to increase taxes.

While the Liberals back down on small businesses tax increases has been generally well received, the finance minister remains firmly under fire in Ottawa. 

At issue was the recent disclosure that Bill Morneau has a corporately registered private villa in France as well as significant personal assets that are not placed into a blind trust. As a result, the NDP has written to the Ethics Commissioner demanding a full investigation.  

The Conservative Opposition has used an Opposition Day debate to call for the full tabling of the assets held by the finance minister.

Ultimately, the question raised is what impact does the finance minister’s potential policy decisions have on his own personal finances? 

This is ultimately why cabinet ministers, provincially and federally, are required to make full disclose of personal assets to ensure they do not unduly benefit from policy decisions they may be involved with. 

Some believe this disclosure is an invasion of personal privacy and that it is an unfair expectation that elected officials utilize mechanisms such as a blind trust that currently is not mandatory.

My question this week:

  • Should it be a mandatory requirement that the personal financial assets of cabinet ministers be placed into a blind trust?


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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