Saskatoon business owners protest federal tax changes

Roughly 100 business owners carried placards and marched through downtown Saskatoon Thursday.

'It seems like the federal government just isn't listening': Keith Moen

Business owners protested in downtown Saskatoon Thursday against proposed federal tax changes. (CBC News)

Roughly 100 business owners carried placards and marched through downtown Saskatoon Thursday, protesting the proposed changes to federal tax law.

They walked in front of the federal tax offices on Third Avenue, carrying signs with slogans such as "No fairness for small business" and "Attacking the middle class."

In July, Finance Minister Bill Morneau launched a 75-day consultation period for three proposed changes:

  • The curtailment of "income sprinkling," a method by which business owners shift a portion of income to family members, either through salary or dividends.
  • The curbing of "passive investment income," which the government describes as the investment of money left in a corporation, for purposes other than to invest directly in growth.
  • The conversion of a corporation's regular income into capital gains, which typically attract a lower tax rate.

Some say the consultation period is far too short. Others say the changes would push many struggling businesses into bankruptcy.

I see this as a final blueprint of socialism.- Gary Schreiner 

North Saskatoon Business Association's executive director, Keith Moen, said the group organized the protest because other methods of communication weren't working.

He said the changes would do irreparable damage to small businesses.

Longtime Saskatoon-area grain farmer Gary Schreiner was one of the protestors, too. He said people's concerns don't just centre on taxes.

The ballooning deficit and other financial mismanagement need to be opposed as well, he said. He believes the federal government is intent on seizing control of more and more of the economy.

"I see this as a lot more than tax changes to small businesses and corporations. I see this as a final blueprint of socialism," Schreiner said.

Government officials have said the changes would ensure more fairness in the tax system.