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

The Paperboys visit Kelowna

Check out the Rotary Centre for the Arts Jan. 27

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

Rutland students help less fortunate

At Rutland Senior Secondary, students are helping the homeless this holiday season

Lake Country seniors receive Christmas surprise

Hampers will be given to 20 lucky seniors in need next week

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Lind nets three in Rockets win; Dube and Foote named to Canada’s roster

Kole Lind returns from national junior camp to lead Rockets to victory in P.A.

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Annual Christmas meal held as Kelowna Gospel Mission

The meal will be held tomorrow from 12 to 6 p.m.

Most Read