The Liberals’ proposed tax changes for small business have landed them in hot water with professionals such as doctors and farmers.
But how does the rest of the country feel about the issue?
According to a new Ipsos poll for Global News, the public is evenly divided on whether or not they support the changes, which includes eliminating income sprinkling.
Income sprinkling is a loophole that allows small business owners to lower their tax burdens by passing some income to family members who aren’t required to work for the business.
Small business owners have vehemently opposed the tax changes, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended them, saying the government is “doing more for the people who need it, and less for the people who don’t.”
When asked, 56 per cent of Canadians said they support the changes, while 44 per cent said they don’t.
But less than one in ten respondents said they were closely following the issue, which pollster Darrell Bricker found surprising.
“You’d think given all the attention that it’s been getting in the press or from interest groups, you’d think there’d be a lot more interest in what’s going on with this issue,” Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Canada, told Global News.
“But at this stage of the game it appears to be something that really hasn’t caught the public’s imagination.
“So what this suggests is that people are really ambiguous about it, in the middle about it and not really paying that much attention to it.”
LISTEN: Newstalk 770’s Rob Breakenridge gets the tax changes explained by UBC Economics Professor Kevin Milligan.
The poll also asked about what people thought of the government’s motives in adopting the changes.
While 67 per cent of respondents said they believe it was because people need to pay their fair share in taxes, another 55 per cent said they think the government “out of control” with their spending and needed the added revenue from the tax changes.
Six in ten (58%) respondents said the proposal is “going to reduce the incentive for small businesses and professionals like doctors to operate in Canada.”
Since the data is so ambiguous, it hasn’t had much of an impact on Trudeau and the Liberals’ overall approval rating, Bricker explained.
“And we also haven’t seen that their approval level overall has dropped as a result of this, theyu’re still riding at a high 59 per cent,”
“So there’s a chance here for their opponents or the gov’t to really seize the agenda and really define this issue.”
The Ipsos poll was conducted on behalf of Global News between September 11 and 14, 2017 using a sample of 1,001 Canadians from Ipsos online panel. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.