From October 14 to 20, Canada celebrates Small Business Week. Small Business Week is an opportunity to recognize the important role that small businesses play in our communities and the tremendous impact that small business owners have on our economy. Our small businesses support local charities, sponsor children’s sports teams and create employment opportunities for our family and friends. These businesses are the ones Canadians turn to and trust when they need help, whether it’s getting a haircut, having their car fixed or going out for a meal.
A year ago, the Liberal government introduced changes to small business income tax policy that resulted in serious concerns among the small business community. Suddenly, small business owners were worried about their ability to remain competitive. The Liberal government was going to take more money from small business owners, hampering their ability to invest in their business or grow.
When Canada announced counter tariffs on U.S. products, many small businesses raised concerns about the impacts on their operations. For example, I heard from craft brewers in our communities who rely on American imported aluminum beer cans. The operating costs for their business went up because of this decision. These are businesses that are working hard to stay afloat and provide training and job opportunities for our communities and the government should be doing more to show support. After signing the new United States, Mexico and Canada trade agreement, there is still no timeline or plan to get the tariffs lifted.
This Liberal government needs to start standing up for small businesses. Many privately owned campgrounds have received reassessment notices from the CRA, being asked to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes. The CRA’s reason is that these campgrounds are too small to be a small business. How is it possible that a small business is “too small” to be a small business? These campgrounds are small businesses, run by a handful of employees, often, with the owner playing a major role in the day-to-day operations. I have repeatedly asked the CRA Minister to clarify this issue and have never received an acceptable response.
Small businesses deserve our support. The government needs to create an environment where small businesses can succeed, and that means not over-taxing them or suffocating small businesses with red tape. Whether it’s the carbon tax, not being able to get pipelines built or increasing CPP premiums, the Liberal government has shown very little commitment to actually helping our small businesses succeed. Platitudes are never enough, especially for the job creators in our communities.
On small business week, I call on the government to do more to support our small businesses, reduce the barriers and allow them to succeed. Small businesses make our communities strong and are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to stand by our small businesses and defend them against over-regulation and over-taxation from the current Liberal government.