So let me get this straight, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau have been spending the last few months, heck the last couple of years really, telling small business owners that so many of them are just tax avoidance schemes. They should know, between the two of them they have a stake in 11 numbered corporations.
“We have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes,” Trudeau said during a 2015 interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.
Is Trudeau basing this on his own experience?
A review of his ethics disclosure shows that Trudeau own, or partially owns, three numbered companies and has a trust set up for him. Are these tax avoidance measures?
A 2013 profile of Trudeau’s finances by Glen McGregor, then with the Ottawa Citizen, showed Trudeau inherited a portfolio worth about $1.2 million, as well as joint ownership of the family mansion in Montreal and a summer home in the Laurentians. Oh, a very expensive vintage Mercedes.
Trudeau was able to live more modestly than he had to because his father had set up a trust fund to pay out annual stipends through the trust fund. He also made as much as $450,000 a year in speaking fees that were billed through one of his numbered companies.
Morneau meanwhile owns, or partially owns, eight numbered companies and is the beneficiary of a family trust set up by his wife Nancy McCain, yes of that McCain family. A McGregor profile of Morneau from 2015 showed that at that point he owned $32 million dollars in shares of Morneau Shapell through a numbered company in Alberta.
Morneau Shapell is the firm that Bill took over from his father. Why hold shares in a numbered company in Alberta unless it is to lower the tax burden.
These two have much more experience with numbered companies than the average Canadian or even the average Canadian entrepreneur.
Asked about his family’s use of a trust fund during a Tuesday morning news conference, Trudeau rebuffed the question twice. He claimed transparency while refusing to answer.
The reason why is clear, Trudeau, and likely Morneau, have used these tools that are really only open to the wealthy, to reduce their taxes while lecturing small business owners about their need to pay more.
Hypocrisy is one word that comes to mind.
On the numbered company side, is there any doubt that Trudeau billed his speaking gigs through his numbered company to reduce his tax burden on the $450,000 he earned?
Trudeau has tried to portray himself as friendly to “the middle class and those working hard to join it.”
Here is the truth, most small business owners about to get whacked by these changes are the middle class, they also provide other people with middle class jobs. Yet on every front, Trudeau is in attack mode.
In the same 2015 interview with CBC, Trudeau said he wanted lower taxes for small business overall, he just implied that a good chunk of those were tax cheats that he didn’t want to help. Since winning the election a few months later Trudeau has backpedaled on his promise to lower the small business tax rate and hiked payroll taxes with increases in CPP and EI premiums about to take effect.
Our prime minister has embarked on a campaign of class warfare, one that has seen eight of his own MPs come forward and say they can’t back these changes, that has seen Liberal spin doctors denounce them has wrong but still Trudeau marches on.
It’s all about two things. He needs to fund his out of control spending and he believes this class warfare move will win him votes in 2019.
The sad thing is it might work.