Nova Scotia’s premier says it’s important for provincial leaders to speak up about the effects of proposed tax changes in their regions, and he intends to do just that next week while meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.
In an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos, Stephen McNeil says he has already spoken to Finance Minister Bill Morneau about the proposals, which have kicked off a firestorm of controversy across Canada among incorporated professionals and small business owners.
“I think we need to fully understand, what are the unintended consequences,” said McNeil, whose province is struggling with an increasingly elderly population and a small number of family doctors, many of whom will be affected by the changes.
WATCH: Hundreds of N.S. doctors speak out against proposed federal tax changes
According to Doctors Nova Scotia, three-quarters of the physicians in the province are incorporated, something that McNeil said allows them to save for retirement or maternity leave. It has also allowed Nova Scotia to compete with the higher salaries offered to doctors in the United States and elsewhere in Canada.
“I think it’s important for Nova Scotians and all Canadians to tell their elected officials, both provincially and nationally, how these changes impact them,” the premier said.
McNeil, a Liberal himself, has been outspoken about his concerns about the tax changes. He’ll be in Ottawa next week along with his counterparts from across the country to meet with the prime minister.
He told Kapelos that he feels Morneau and Trudeau are listening to the criticisms of the tax plan, which would close several “loopholes” that allow for income sprinkling to family members who don’t actually work in a business, greater long-term savings inside a corporation and tax breaks involving capital gains.
“I believe the finance minister was receptive to the message, I think he was hearing a similar message across the country,” McNeil said.
“We’ll wait to see what the final changes look like.”
The public consultations on the proposed changes are set to end on Monday. Morneau could then table legislation to implement the plan within days.
Watch the full interview with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil above.