OTTAWA – Saint John Rothesay MP Wayne Long voted in favour of an opposition motion Tuesday that would have extended the consultation period on the Liberal government’s proposed changes to the ways incorporated companies are taxed.
Long was the only Liberal to vote for the motion, which called for the consultation period to be extended until January 31, 2018. The motion was ultimately defeated 199-89 because of the Liberal majority in the House of Commons.
“I am a proud Liberal and I believe in my party,” said Long in a release. “Tax reform is needed in Canada, but such major reforms must be considered very carefully — with respect to their long-term economic ramifications. This consultation has been too short: Canadians have had only 75 days to consider dramatic changes to long-standing tax laws, some which have been in use for 40 years.”
Long said he’s worried about the province losing professionals and entrepreneurs over the issue.
“I have listened to my constituents, and I am concerned,” he said. “I am concerned to hear about local businesses already leaving my riding, leaving our country. I am concerned about my province’s ability to recruit and retain doctors going forward. It is already difficult to retain doctors in New Brunswick.”
Long has said many times over the past few weeks that he understands the plight of the small business person because he once was one himself. He used to work for an international salmon company called Stolt Sea Farm, he said, and then he left to start a salmon sales and marketing company called Scotia View Seafood.
After Tuesday’s vote, he reiterated his view that the proposals will hurt small businesses and discourage entrepreneurship.
“As a former small business owner, I understand my local economy,” he said. “It is my belief that these proposed changes, as they stand, will have unintended negative consequences. I am worried about unforeseen effects on small businesses…These proposed changes, without amendments, will discourage entrepreneurship, reducing local small business activity and growth.”
Long voiced his opposition for the first time in a late-night Facebook post a few weeks ago.
“I’ve lived the hopes and dreams of having a business,” he wrote at the time. “Small business is the backbone of our economy. I believe in my heart that these proposed changes will discourage entrepreneurship and hurt the very people we want to help. I cannot support these proposals without amendments.”
He has stood by his opposition ever since. More Liberal MPs have since come out against the proposed changes, but Long was the only one to vote with the Conservatives Tuesday.
Long took to Facebook again after the vote.
“Tonight I took a very hard decision to vote against my own party and in support of a Conservative motion that asked to lengthen the consultation period on the Tax Change proposals,” he wrote.
“I’m sorry to my colleagues who I know I’ve put in a very awkward position. I deeply regret this as you are such great representatives. I ran on being Saint John – Rothesay’s representative in Ottawa. Not Ottawa’s representative back home.”