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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Today marks another anniversary of an extremely sad and tragic event in world history.  This anniversary marks the day when a group of fanatics tried to use religious fervour as an excuse to murder thousands of innocent people.  They flew airplanes full of innocent passengers into the World Trade Centre in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC and a farmer's field in Pennsylvania.  None of us will forget the images of the Twin Towers collapsing.  The age of international terrorism has been with us ever since and the spectre of radical Islam is now a daily part of lives around the world.   This anniversary and the fallout from it will be with us for a very long time. 

We Canadians are not immune and will have to be very vigilant as we build a society which welcomes immigrants on a daily basis.  We should not fear new Canadians but we must teach them what it means to have a democratic, loving and tolerant democracy which can be a safe haven in a rough world. 

All of us have watched events unfold in the Caribbean and now in the state of Florida as the most powerful hurricane recorded in history has moved its way north.  Our thoughts and prayers should go out to the people who have had their lives devastated by this storm and be thankful we live in Saskatchewan where these kinds of climatic events don't occur on a regular basis. 

It appears the people of Florida have taken the right precautions and thankfully the storm has begun to dissipate as it moved over land.  I'm sure the cleanup will take weeks and months and years and be very costly.  But the loss of life that occurred earlier on in Irma's path has been spared in Florida.  You can always replace things - it's impossible to replace lost loved ones.  Hats off to the people that are facing Irma.

This makes my third comment this morning seem rather mundane as no one is going to lose life and limb because of the proposed tax changes by the Federal Liberal government.  As someone who comes from a farming background and I might add from a farming business background as Wheaton Bee Farms was incorporated in the late 1970's, I have very mixed feelings about what the federal government is proposing to do.

We Canadians have always prided ourselves on having an income tax system which provided the necessary funds to make our society what it is today.  We have lived with the concept that higher income individuals, companies and groups pay more tax than people at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum in order to have a just society. 

We've also believed that it is good for people who are risk-takers to succeed and by succeeding, provide employment opportunities for other Canadians.  I don't know about some other areas of business where it has become increasingly popular - and I'm referring to different classes of professionals - to become incorporated entities.  I presume they are doing this because of advice from their accountants and lawyers. 

I do know that agriculture which tends to be a life-long occupation and in many cases inter-generational, needs the right environment to plan for long-term success because there are so many variables you can't control in a profession where things like weather and international commodity prices are totally out of your hands.  By being able to include family members on a company payroll and allow them to be eligible for things like CPP and pension plans and putting money aside to reinvest in the farming operation is a positive part of our current system.

I would suggest this is where the government's "one-size-fits-all" approach to tax reform is badly thought out.  Comparing doctors and dentists to farms and small business where intergenerational transfer is usually not an issue is a wrong-headed approach in my view.  Maybe the government should look at the market place in which various forms of business operate in order to come up with a system which is fair and equitable.  Maybe they should take the time to come around and visit with Canadians as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has suggested before coming up with new rules.  To hold a so-called consultation on change in the middle of harvest, for instance, when most farmers are busily trying to get their crops in so they can function for another year is an insult to everyone's intelligence.

If Mr. Trudeau doesn't want to be remembered in the same vein as his Father was in western Canada, then he needs to instruct his Finance Minister and his officials to take the time and do this the right way.          


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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

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