New Brunswick

New Brunswick MP kicked off 2 committees for breaking Liberal ranks on tax changes

Saint John-Rothesay Liberal MP Wayne Long has been kicked off two parliamentary committees for breaking party ranks over proposed small business tax changes.

Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long says he's 'deeply disappointed' but 'understands' party's decision

Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long said earlier this week that he could not sit idly by as the government pushed ahead with changes that could hurt business owners in his riding. (CBC)

Saint John-Rothesay Liberal MP Wayne Long has been kicked off two parliamentary committees for breaking party ranks over proposed small business tax changes.

Long confirmed he was removed Thursday from the standing committee on human resources, skills, social development and the status of persons with disabilities, as well as the standing committee on access to information, privacy and ethics.

"I am deeply disappointed to be removed from my committees, but I respect and understand the party's decision," he said in an emailed statement to CBC News.

"I'm proud of the work I've done on HUMA and take pride especially in producing the National Report on Poverty Reduction."

On Tuesday, Long supported a failed Conservative move that would have extended the consultation period on the federal government's proposed changes to the small business tax regime.

On Wednesday, he had a "difficult conversation" with Liberal whip Pablo Rodriquez.

"I don't know if there will be consequences," Long told CBC News at the time. "But I have been told there may be consequences, and I'm certainly prepared and ready to accept any decision the party makes."

Representing constituents' views

Long had said he would be "disappointed" if he was kicked out of caucus, but he could not sit by as the government pushed ahead with changes his constituents overwhelmingly oppose.

His riding has the largest concentration of small businesses in the country, he said, and many doctors who work at the Saint John Regional Hospital.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has indicated he plans to make changes to the Liberals' controversial tax change proposals announced in mid-July.

"Changes are going to be required," Morneau said Tuesday after facing questions in the Senate. 

"For those pieces of legislation that we've already drafted, we'll take into account what people have told us to determine how we go forward from here."

The government's original plan included restrictions on income sprinkling, which is the practice of transferring income from a business owner to a child or spouse who would be taxed at a lower rate.

It also proposed limits on the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company and would curb the ability of business owners to convert regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate.

The consultation period ended Oct. 2.

The Conservative motion would have extended consultation until Jan. 31, 2018 — because of the "drastic negative impact on small- and medium-sized businesses," the motion said — but it was defeated in the House of Commons.

With files from John Paul Tasker