An interesting debate is heating up in Canada between the government and the self-employed.
The Liberal platform states ‘We’ll ask the wealthiest 1% to pay a bit more so middle class families can pay less’. It goes on to say: ‘Our plan to help middle class Canadians: Create jobs. Strengthen the economy. Grow the middle class.’ When Bill Morneau introduced the proposed changes to make this happen, they proposed that they would close three ‘loopholes’ that allowed wealthy Canadians to avoid higher tax rates. Of note, these loopholes were introduced by an elected government in an effort to strengthen the economy. Trudeau characterized the changes as being in step with his oft-repeated promise to help the middle class, even if it requires Canada’s wealthiest to ‘pay a little more’. I can sense the energy in his conviction to help the middle class.
As the summer progresses, we can see the tension mount between the two sides as it appears that business owners feel threatened that the rules are changing and they will need to make tough business decisions. They are not feeling wealthy but rather part of the working middle class. Politicians are nervous and anxious as the people they represent are challenging the proposed changes. Our national leader is working hard to hold it all together by reinforcing that this was nothing more than what was promised. So what is the danger?
Reactive behaviour leads to closed thinking and contractive outcomes.
There is no argument that government programs are costing more and taxes are a key revenue source to pay the bills. One contentious issue is income-splitting. According to a CBC report on July 18, 2017, Finance Canada estimates that approximately 50,000 families will be affected by the change, realizing $250 million in net tax revenue. By my math, that represents $5,000 per family. That is 50,000 families who are currently working together as a family to contribute to the economy by employing people in their communities, paying their taxes and supporting initiatives that are important to them. In an expansive economy, the goal is not be to make it less attractive for these families to do business but rather to attract new families to this fold. These are the families that we need to grow business, create jobs and support community. Our challenge is to work with these families to create space for success. We can create an environment that enhances cooperation to create even further wealth.
My Canada is a country of opportunity!
My parents came to Canada for opportunity. Starting with nothing but grit and determination, they grew a successful business in an economically repressed region. They did have access to agriculture development funds based on the agricultural rep looking for recipients who could work the dollars to drive growth. Their children, raised to believe in the importance of hard work and calculated risk, are now employing Canadians, sending their children to university and contributing to their communities. I recognize that just like the Prime Minister, I have energy bound in my convictions – mine being that opportunity is the promise of Canada.
Where do the two sides meet?
I have discovered a philosophy and method to help neutralize my reactions and create space for better choices. For guidance, I continue to go back to the Government of Canada’s website Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship which states that the government is responsible for upholding rights and freedoms of citizens and it is the duty of its citizens to provide for oneself and to help others in their community. Some citizens have difficulty in providing for themselves. Others have resources to share. The goal would be to increase both the number of individuals that are self-sufficient and those that are willing and able to give. My focus is to create space and resources so I have more to share with my community.
There are many ways to ask the wealthiest 1% to pay a little more in a manner to expand the economy, share the wealth and feel engaged in the process. I believe under this context, our goal should be to work with this community of families and business owners to continue to build a caring community. We can create space for success – together – just as illustrated in this example!