Conservative leader criticizes tax reform proposals

Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, greets people at the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday. – Mathew McCarthy,Record staff

KITCHENER — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer voiced criticism of proposed Liberal tax reforms for small businesses during a visit to the Waterloo Region.

Scheer had a daylong schedule of events in the region on Friday, which included lunch at the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce attended by about 100 local business owners and professionals.

Scheer focused the majority of his address at the chamber on Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s handling of his personal wealth in light of proposed Liberal tax reforms.

“They spent months trying to find wealthy Canadians who were using loopholes to structure their finances in such a way to avoid paying higher taxes,” said Scheer.

“If they really wanted to find wealthy Canadians using loopholes to avoid paying taxes, all the prime minister and Bill Morneau had to do was turn slightly toward each other and gaze into each other’s eyes.”

Coincidently, the finance minister was also in Waterloo on Friday. Speaking at the Communitech Data Hub, he announced that government would work with venture capital and angel investment sectors to address concerns over the tax proposals. Morneau has recently come under fire for not putting his business assets in the company he and his family helped build, Morneau Shepell, into a blind trust. However, he insists he followed the advice of the ethics commissioner.

Scheer commended small-business owners and the chamber for voicing opposition to small-business tax reforms proposals and credited grassroots opposition to government’s decision to make changes to the proposal.

“We’ve managed to push back on that; we’ve managed to get them to acknowledge the error of their ways,” he said.

“But never forget as late as two weeks ago they were denying anything we said about their proposals — we said it would limit the ability for family farms to be passed down to the next generation, we said that it would limit the ability of business owners to be able to save up a little bit of money in case times didn’t go so well or to self fund a maternity leave.”

This is Scheer’s first visit to this region since his election as leader of the federal Conservative party in May. He spent the morning with the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, toured Mountainoak Cheese in New Hamburg and also the Tri-Mach Group in Elmira.

The leader said he is making his way across the country to determine the interests and concerns of each region ahead of the next election in 2019. “We know that this is an important economic engine not just in Ontario but for all of Canada. There a lot of spinoff industries not just in manufacturing but in high tech and innovation and research,” he said. “So I wanted to come really just to listen; part of building a plan for the next election is to find out what the concerns are.”

•with files from The Canadian Press

This article was written by Waterloo Record staff for the Waterloo Region Record. Read the original article here.