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Is Ottawa waging a silent war on the West?

Is a war against Western Canada quietly festering in Ottawa these days? Several pieces of the puzzle are falling into place that lead one to this conclusion.

Is a war against Western Canada quietly festering in Ottawa these days? Several pieces of the puzzle are falling into place that lead one to this conclusion. The carbon tax, the coal mining closures, the corporate tax changes, and widening taxes on employee benefits.
The Trudeau Liberals, in a bid to keep their voters happy in Toronto, have been pushing through legislation and policies that allow them to tick off a few boxes on their list of election promises. These are good selfie ops today and will make great campaign talking points in two years, but they are ruinous to the country’s economy right now and in the long term.
These measures signal that Ottawa lacks the foresight to understand the implications of their brash campaign talk or the courage to roll back on harmful promises. Junior’s been thinking long-term, and we can just hear him say on the campaign trail, “We’ve kept all of our election promises,” as we visualize him ticking off the items on his expensively manicured fingers.
Ottawa began its clash with the West over the environment. Last year, the Feds tried a double-whammy by introducing the carbon tax and announcing it was phasing out coal-powered electricity. They aimed to make 90 per cent of electric power generation free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Ah, yes. It is all about the greenhouse gases and meeting the demanding goals of the Paris Accord. We can see the headlines now. The PM wants to declare that during his term in office, he single-handedly made Canada the world leader in saving the planet.
At the time, Premier Wall came out swinging, noting that the carbon credit idea would make no real impact on the environment and instead would harm the economy. Agricultural producers, the very same people involved in an industry that captures carbon, would be hit by rising fuel costs and hikes for inputs as a result of a tax on carbon being emitted in other parts of the country. Like falling dominoes, the pinch on the wallets of ag producers will be felt down the line right to small town economies. Wall joined his voice to scientists who wanted more attention given to developing clean technologies and energy resources. Combined with phasing out coal, a lot of small town businesses and organizations in the West and not just farmers will experience financial hardship.
And as the Liberals overspend their way into history, their attention has turned this year to corporate tax changes in an attempt to fill the coffers. They were supposed to be going after “the wealthy” who keep their billions off-shore as the Panama Papers reveal. Instead, the buck stops at “tax cheats” in Canada – all those mom and pop businesses that have been socking away rainy day money in capital gains and actually paying family members for their work. Updating a 40-year-old tax system sounds like a good idea, but experts predict the sweeping tax changes will have a disproportionate impact on the core taxpayers in Canada, small and medium-sized business owners.
The Liberals have faced a ton of backlash, still the government is determined to end income sprinkling. The government plans to apply a “reasonableness” test to stop unfair income sprinkling. Get set for Trudeau minions running around shadowing your children to see if running meals to the field is really “making a significant and sustained contribution to the corporation.” There are so many small jobs on a busy farm like child care, errands for parts and supplies that are not directly related to “farming” but are vital to operations. The same is true for small family-owned businesses.
At the same time, agricultural producers are nervously watching NAFTA talks and the rhetoric streaming from Washington. There are billions of agricultural dollars on the line from trilateral trade activities. Canadians haven’t really seen Ottawa standing up for its producers at the negotiations. Junior seemed resigned after his U.S. visit that Canada will be losing ground. So, expect to pay more there too.
Have these battles dimmed Sunny Ways? Hardly. Political watchers see the Liberals doggedly enacting their re-election plan, seriously overspending along the way and blithely ignoring the huge impact to come on Western Canada.