Opinion Column

So much for helping the middle-class

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Once again, Justin Trudeau makes it way too easy to pick on him.

 

I try to change up my columns, but every week, he comes up with a new, fresh way to grind my gears that little else - except perhaps the re-dub of one of my favourite shows that few here would understand - has managed to surpass. It has nothing to do with his party or where they sit on the political spectrum; it has everything to do with his hypocrisy.

I suppose I can understand why he continues to use it - saying one thing and doing another has been somewhat of an effective tool for him, and those who fail to do their own research eat up the accolades and numerous pats on the back he’s given himself. He said he’s done all this great stuff, so he must have actually done it. What a great person we have leading our country.

He promised to act on missing and murdered Indigenous women “unlike the previous government,” and “unlike the previous government,” lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard him laud his party for the latter in particular, but I feel like he’s playing tour guide with Canadians - showing us all the highlights and hot spots of a destination while conveniently neglecting to show us the real story.

Sure, the tax rate for the second-lowest federal tax bracket was lowered from 22 per cent to 20.5 per cent, but that 1.5 per cent decrease means nothing when it was accompanied by the elimination of the child fitness tax credit and income-splitting, tax-free savings accounts, increase to CPP and, of course, the imposing of a carbon tax if the provinces fail to put one in themselves.

What a way to help the middle-class.

Now, Trudeau’s off to play hero again, saving Canadians from those mischievous tax shelters known as small businesses by eliminating tax incentives, “income sprinkling” and more.

“We’re doing more for the people who need it and doing less for the people who don’t,” Trudeau said to reporters in Saskatoon last week. The response, from someone who has implied on more than one occasion that small businesses - Canada’s wealthiest, according to him - reap unfair rewards that no one benefits from, is hardly surprising.

What it is, however, is out of touch.

It sounds great - taking from the rich to lessen the burden on the poor (at least, that’s the spin he’s trying to sell). Except, it isn’t at all what he’s actually doing.

Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Small businesses are even the backbone of local economy. When I look at the businesses here in Lacombe, I don’t see tax evaders - I see family businesses just trying to provide a service to the community. I don’t see them rolling around in cash or driving up in cadillacs. I see owners pitching in to help their employees, not steal from them to make an extra few dollars. I see an incredibly giving community who pitch in to help others however they can, whether it’s donating time, or any extra money they have to charities and non-profit organizations to help those less fortunate and in need.

Trudeau and his right hand man on the issue, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, however, are intent on portraying these businesses as being operated by greedy tax cheats.

Morneau even had to hold a conference call to deal with Liberal backbenchers on the issue and combat what he believes is “rampant misinformation” on what the proposed changes (put into motion while the House of Commons was not actually in session) actually entails.

The only rampant misinformation out there, though, seems to be coming out of both his and Trudeau’s mouths - that income grabbing from 3.5 million Canadians is an attack on the rich.

What do either know about helping the middle-class? Both were born into wealth. Both don’t understand the gravity of using one’s house as collateral to open up a small business, or the strains owning and operating one can put on an entire family. They don’t understand the risks, or clearly what a small business even is or these changes would not have been put forward at all.

Honestly, I feel like Trudeau and the entire Liberal caucus need to be on some special edition of Undercover Boss where they’re forced to work at a variety of small-businesses alongside middle-class workers, learning how changes like this truly affect them. They need to really understand what drives the economy, and how these businesses truly work and how completely ignorant they’re being of the middle-class they laud themselves for helping.

Maybe then I’ll actually get some new fodder for my columns.

-abarrett@postmedia.com 



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