Roundup: Those “sexist” tax changes

Pushback on the proposed income tax changes increased in intensity, with the Canadian Medical Association launching broadsides at the policy under the rubric that it’s “sexist” and will drive doctors out of the country, while Conservatives have taken these arguments to social media, Lisa Raitt policing news aggregators and Kellie Leitch penning fundraising letters. Jane Philpott, addressing a CMA conference, assured them that they were operating under misinformation and that the goal of the changes was tax fairness – that those with spouses earning significantly less money or having adult children shouldn’t unfairly benefit from the existing system than those who don’t.

I did try to get some answers as to how this policy was “sexist,” because I’m not entirely convinced that these changes prevent people from using money in the corporation to finance parental leaves, never mind the fact that the previous government made a Very Big Deal about changing the EI system to allow self-employed people to contribute in order to finance maternity leaves – something that received very little uptake. And most of the stories that Raitt pointed to were anecdotal that didn’t point to where these policy changes were a problem – one example was a Facebook post where a dentist insisted that these current policies were what allowed her to keep up with male counterparts, which is an argument that makes no sense at all. They don’t prevent incorporation. They don’t prevent deductions of expenses or reinvestment in the business – it’s about not letting people use income sprinkling or splitting for the sole purposes of reducing their taxes. Not that it’s stopped the narratives that this hurts doctors or struggling small businesses.

And this is a salient point – in Ontario, the provincial government encouraged this kind of incorporation rather than increase what they’re paying doctors, so you can see why they’re upset that these tools are being taken away from them. Nevertheless, it also largely proves that their arguments are fairly disingenuous, especially when they insist that “it’s not about the money.” But with none of their other arguments actually panning out, it seems to be that’s exactly what it is, and it’s fine if they come out and just say it. But to put on this song and dance about how the changes are “sexist” and that it somehow disproves Trudeau’s feminism, and ignoring the stated purpose of the changes with regards to tax fairness, makes the excuses start to ring fairly hollow.

Good reads:

  • Governor-General nominee Julie Payette has agreed to drop her bid to seal her divorce records after the media went to court to unseal them.
  • Last holdout on new healthcare agreement, Manitoba, has backed down and signed on, proving that the stand the provinces tried to make failed.
  • Ralph Goodale visited an illegal border crossing in Quebec to see the asylum claimant situation, and says they are investigating the misinformation in the US.
  • Haitian-born Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg is heading to Florida to engage the Haitians there and dissuade them from trying to cross the Canadian border.
  • The Commons defence committee plans to hold an emergency meeting about North Korea today. We’ll see if the Liberals are keen to play ball.
  • Cheap outrage alert as the new consul-general in San Francisco, poached from the private sector, is making double the going public service rate.
  • AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says an Indigenous chapter of NAFTA can help with economic certainty for Indigenous communities on both sides of the border.
  • The government is planning on introducing legislation to limit the length of election campaigns and to better get third party compliance.
  • Here’s an interesting look at pro-development First Nations when it comes to things like pipelines.
  • Rick Petersen is now officially in the nomination race to fill Rona Ambrose’s seat.
  • Senator Elaine McCoy writes about how she feels independence has changed the Senate for the better. (I have a response coming out in today’s column).
  • Andrew Coyne muses that the antidote for right-wing populism is a return to actual conservative values like free speech and due process.

Odds and ends:

Manitoba’s ousted PC MLA, Steven Fletcher, is asking a judge to strike down the province’s ban on floor crossing “on principle.”