Open Letter to Justin Trudeau from an Entrepreneur
Dear Mr. Trudeau,
I hope you have had an enjoyable summer and are now back in Ottawa working hard on what matters to Canadians. This letter does not matter to all Canadians, but it does matter to over 10,474,800 that own and work for small and medium-sized businesses. I invite you to visit our employees and my family in Victoria, BC and a discuss the future of Entrepreneurs in light of proposed tax changes.
I have not used the tax provisions which Finance Morneau would like to change, for two reasons. #1 I have never made enough money. #2 we have always reinvested in the business and employees. For over 12 years we’ve helped dozens of people by providing benefits for them and their families, and assisting them with their careers and education.
My father and mother are entrepreneurs. My father works exploring for minerals in Northern Canada and building canoes, while my mother is a consultant with unions and first nations groups. My parents are still working well past the retirement age of government workers and have never complained a day in their lives about not having a public service pension. The truth is, they have very little saved for their retirement, and most small business owners are in the same boat. Some would say they are up a certain creek without a paddle.
The sacrifices my parents made to be entrepreneurs did not set in when I quit my corporate job with a pension 13 years ago; it happened last month when my wife developed postpartum depression. Without the ability to take parental leave, I bring my son into the office and rush home multiple times a day without notice to my employees and customers to provide the support for my wife. We have come to realize that family comes first, and this is one of the sacrifices owners of small businesses make every day.
Allowing entrepreneurs to pay lower taxes on a small portion of their earnings after years and in some cases, decades of paying GST, Payroll, Federal and Provincial Taxes is one of the few rewards for the sacrifices we make. Lower taxes are our only real shot at saving for retirement and putting something aside for our families and is a great incentive to be an entrepreneur and employ others.
I understand there is an ambitious program that the government is pursuing and I would support tax increases if the money is spent wisely. One program I do not support is sending government workers to France and Brussels to give jobs to foreigners in November with the 2017 Destination Canada Program. Unemployment is very high in Alberta, Atlantic Canada, with youth and First Nations across the country. Why does the government spend over a million dollars on a program telling Canadian companies to go to job fairs in Europe and hire temporary foreign workers? Can’t companies do this without government support?
The Government is not spending money where it should be: education, supporting First Nations, the opioid epidemic, and health care. Why should we ask entrepreneurs who do not have the safety of the full Employment Insurance program and retirement savings plans to pay more?
I encourage you to travel across the country to speak to entrepreneurs and find out their struggles. If you make it Victoria, come for a paddle in the canoe my father built and we would be happy to have you over for dinner. If you can’t visit us, just please ensure we don’t spend money on wasteful projects, all the while increasing taxes on entrepreneurs.