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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Snowfall in the Okanagan shatters records. (Contributed)
Snowfall in Okanagan breaks records dated back to 1899

Penticton has received over 10 cm today, surpassing the 8 cm record set in 1957

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal)
Candidates’ messages: Columbia River Revelstoke

The Bulletin offered each candidate in Columbia River Revelstoke space to hold forth on issues important to them and to voters.

Earth from Space.
Morning Start: It would only take one hour to drive to space

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read