Farmers, physicians and small businesses say they’re not backing down.
More than 150 demonstrators swarmed into downtown Saskatoon on Thursday, protesting proposed tax changes by the federal government.
“I think overall the intended consequences which I don’t even clearly understand and certainly the unintended consequences are going to be significant and very detrimental to us,” Saskatoon businessman Jack Brodsky said.
According to accountants who have spent the bulk of their summer reviewing the changes, the tax reforms are extremely technical.
One that is expected to cause a major ripple is restricting passive investment income, the investment of money that’s left in a corporation.
“You have to have money because you might get into hard times, you have to buy a new combine and things like that,” Dorintosh-area farmer Jerry Hoehn said.
Brodsky agreed, saying it was the one rule of business passed down to him from his father.
“You never know when the wolf is going to be at the door, you never know when you have to make an investment in some new equipment or you have a couple of bad years,” Brodsky remarked.
“This is going to change that because that money is going to be taxed differently so the incentive is gone from doing that.”
Ottawa continues to defend the changes saying they eliminate loopholes used by rich Canadians to avoid paying their fair share.
“It’s easy to go and just pass a tax law and say that it’s not fair,” said Danielle Trayhorne, who has a farm operation near Elrose.
“It’s not fair for us either to have to forego a pension and the maternity leave when you’re owning a small business and farm.”
Other protesters say what the feds have done is waged a class war and that 75-days set aside in the middle of summer to discuss concerns was a slap in the face.
“It’s like stripping away our freedom,” said Gary Schreiner, who farms outside of Saskatoon.
There is now a call for the consultation period launched in July and set to end Oct. 2 to be extended to a year. Organizers of the rally say even that may not be enough of a time frame to hash out some concessions when it comes to these changes.
“A typical process is often times two years but that would be a start,” said Keith Moen, executive director of the North Saskatoon Business Association.
“Then we can have some real dialogue around what some of the ramifications are and if there are changes that they feel need to be made then let’s look at it from a business case because the business case for this particular reform doesn’t pencil out.”
The brief demonstration started at noon followed by a march to the CRA building.
One hour later it dissolved and organizers say that was the plan so protesters could get back to work.