Tom Fletcher/Black Press Finance Minister Carole James

Finance minister expects tax reform changes from feds

Carole James says rumours suggest the federal government could hold back on parts of its tax reform

B.C.’s finance minister is citing rumours that the federal government intends to back off on elements of its proposed tax reforms that have drawn heavy criticism from small business owners across the country.

Speaking to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Friday, Carole James said she would be surprised if the Canadian government did not make adjustments in light of the backlash since unveiling its tax plans over the summer.

“I believe you’ll see a shift. Certainly the rumour that is out there is that you’ll see some kind of shift coming forward,” James said during a question-and-answer session with members.

James later told reporters that she has no inside knowledge of upcoming changes.

“The rumours I’ve heard have mainly come from individuals who have said that the pressure that the federal government is getting around the lack of consultation on this issue means that they will have to make some kind of adjustments.”

James said more consultation is needed to avoid unintended consequences that could harm small business owners, whom she described as the backbone of the provincial economy.

The federal government announced plans to eliminate several tax incentives designed for private corporations, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said unfairly encourages wealthy Canadians to incorporate to avoid paying their fair share.

Trudeau has so far resisted calls from doctors, farmers and small business owners to scrap or amend the reforms, but federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said he is open to making changes following a 75-day public consultation period that wraps up on Oct. 2.

Friday marked the inaugural address by the NDP finance minister to members of the Vancouver Board of Trade. James also faced questions on the government’s opposition to large-scale energy projects, $10-a-day childcare and how it intends to fund transportation infrastructure after eliminating tolls on two Lower Mainland bridges.

The only applause she drew outside of the start and end of her address came after she reaffirmed there would not be another referendum on transit funding.

James was asked about the government’s decision to send the Site C hydroelectric megaproject to the BC Utilities Commission for review.

“There is no reason not to ensure there is a good, strong business plan for Site C. That did not happen,” she said. “Spending public dollars wisely should be a commitment that every politician has.”

Such reviews by the utility commission were standard practice before the previous Liberal government’s clean-energy laws allowed some projects to bypass the regulatory agency.

James also defended the government’s decision to include a per-vote subsidy in its campaign finance reform bill, a move Premier John Horgan had rejected during the May election campaign without first going to Elections BC and an independent committee for review.

Political finance was a central campaign issue and people expected quick action on it , she said.

“Our premier took a look at the evidence and made the decision when we came in that that was the way to move the bill ahead.”

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read