Tax change blowback

The need for industry leadership has never been more evident

If you ever wanted proof that we, as an industry, desperately need a seat at the federal government table to voice our collective concerns, witness what just happened to the Liberal’s proposed tax-grab legislation. Changes intended by Finance Minister Bill Morneau received tremendous blowback from small business owners, farmers, doctors, those in the fishing industry, opposition parties – even his own uncomfortable-looking Liberal backbenchers! Watching them react during numerous question periods while Morneau spoke, was like watching dental patients waiting for their infected wisdom teeth to be extracted. Except in this case, the word “wisdom” seemed to escape their leadership.

The result? Morneau is backing off some of the proposals. For example, he said the government is abandoning the proposed tax reform that would have restricted the conversion of income into capital gains. That proposal would have made it more difficult for business owners like myself to pass on their businesses to their children. At press time, the Liberals were continuing their cross-Canada “tax-change tour”. Morneau declared he has listened to the worries of middle-class Canadians and that technical fixes were on the way. Ok, we’ll see.

My point is that when people speak up, government is forced to listen. I believe the printing industry, which employs tens of thousands of people in this country and generates tens of millions of dollars, must have a strong voice too. I hope the CPIA (Canadian Printing Industries Association), like the legendary Phoenix, will rise from the ashes in 2018 and become that voice once again.

We need an industry organization that will lobby government and stand up for our rights as members of the printing industry on an ongoing basis – especially when one or two government decisions could have such a tremendous financial impact on all of us. The last thing we need is to add another layer of stress by worrying about misguided and uninformed government making punitive laws. We need to be there at the table long before these decisions are made, to properly inform our lawmakers of their possible ramifications.

In the meantime, stay positive and stay focused.


Joe Mulcahy Publisher, Graphic Arts Magazine