La ministre de la Petite Entreprise et du Tourisme à la période des questions au Sénat

Transcription et audio de l’intervention du Sénateur Claude Carignan avec la ministre de la Petite Entreprise et du Tourisme, Bardish Chagger, à la période des questions au Sénat du 7 juin 2016 sur les réductions d'impôt pour les PME

Le sénateur Claude Carignan : Madame le ministre, le mois dernier, le directeur parlementaire du budget a rendu public un rapport d'analyse de la décision du gouvernement Trudeau d'annuler les réductions d'impôt pour les PME, réductions que le précédent gouvernement avait adoptées par le biais d’une loi.

Lors de la dernière campagne électorale, les libéraux avaient promis le maintien des réductions d'impôt pour les PME. Toutefois, le directeur parlementaire du budget estime que d'ici 2021, la rupture de cette promesse par l’annulation des réductions d'impôt entraînera la perte de 1 240 emplois et la diminution du PIB de 300 millions de dollars.

Le rapport du directeur parlementaire du budget indique également que cette annulation coûtera 2,1 milliards de dollars aux petites entreprises au cours de cette période, alors que les recettes du gouvernement fédéral n'augmenteront que de 815 millions.

Madame la ministre, ma question est simple. Pourquoi votre gouvernement n’a pas tenu cette promesse électorale envers les petites et moyennes entreprises?

Hon. Bardish Chagger, P.C., M.P., Minister of Small Business and Tourism: To all honourable senators, I have to start off by saying it is a pleasure and an honour to be in this house among you. I sincerely appreciate the work that you do. As someone who was born and raised in the riding of Waterloo, I have looked always to this upper chamber and the work that you do within our communities.

I know, oftentimes, we'll speak about our elected officials, but anytime I had the opportunity to meet a senator, I always wanted my picture taken and I always wanted to shake your hand. I never thought that I would be here in Question Period with you. It sincerely means so much to me.

Thank you for the work you do.

I'll tell you one other thing: I will always support the Senate – yes, even after today.

To answer the question . . . . I will switch to English, because I speak faster in English and we can cover so much more.

When it comes to the tax reductions, taxes were reduced on January 1, as we all know. This government really has a mandate and a responsibility to grow this economy. When it comes to small-business owners, I am engaging with them every single day. Since being put into this role, I have met with over 300 stakeholders.

One thing they will ask for time and time again is increased revenues. Within Budget 2016, the commitments we are making include the middle class income tax cut and the Canada Child Benefit. That's to empower consumers who are buying our goods and services and to help our small-business owners sell.

At the end of the day, a tax rate is great, but it is only one mechanism within the many things we can do. I work closely with the Minister of Finance. We will be reviewing to see where the best rate needs to be, but my first responsibility is to our stakeholders: our small-business owners who are our job creators. They drive the economy. These are not soundbites; they are facts. I myself have often worked in the not-for-profit sector, so I know the work they offer.

When it comes to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, I must say that, when looking at the single issue, yes, your comments are fair, but when the Parliamentary Budget Officer looked at our budget as a whole, he agreed that the measures that we are taking will grow the economy and that these are investments. When it comes to our investments in infrastructure, as well, our small-business owners really do benefit from the actions that we are taking.

When it comes to my role representing the riding of Waterloo, and when it comes to my role as Minister of Small Business and Tourism, I really need to see our nation grow. I know that we can do better.

Le sénateur Claude Carignan : Vous avez parlé de l'importance des PME dans l'économie canadienne. En 2013, le rapport d'Industrie Canada faisait état qu’au Canada les PME emploient près de 10 millions de Canadiens et Canadiennes, ce qui correspond à 90 p. 100 des employés du secteur privé.

Pourtant, lors d’une entrevue au réseau CBC, le premier ministre affirmait ceci :

Il faut savoir qu'un grand pourcentage des petites entreprises ne sont en fait qu'une façon pour les Canadiens plus riches de payer moins d'impôts.

Est-ce que madame la ministre partage cette opinion?

Hon. Bardish Chagger, P.C., M.P., Minister of Small Business and Tourism: Ms. Chagger: Thank you, honourable senator, for the question. When elected into government, I was one person who never said that I would run for office, because I know the job of an elected officer is not easy. We are not here, necessarily, to represent the majority; we are here to ensure that the voices of the few are also heard.

When it comes to our tax system, we know there are some people who take advantage of it. We need to ensure there is a fair tax system. I know the stakeholders that I represent are the ones I wake up for every single day: either the constituents of the riding of Waterloo or the tourism industry and my small-business owners. I know how are hard they work and the hours they put in, day in, day out. When I say that they are our job-creators, I know that they are. When I say they are the backbone of this economy, I know they are.

As someone who has the privilege of sitting around a cabinet table, I can tell you that each and every single one of my colleagues around the cabinet table and in the house has the utmost respect for the work that our small-business owners do. We know how hard they work, and we want to ensure tax fairness for all Canadians, especially, for me, our small-business owners.

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