Trudeau Mafia? Liberal MP Told He Could Face 'Consequences' for Breaking Ranks on Tax Changes
A Liberal MP from New Brunswick says he felt he had no choice but to vote against his own party when it came to extending the consultations on the government’s proposed tax changes — and is ready to face the consequences.
Wayne Long was the only Liberal to break ranks and vote in favour of a Conservative motion to extend the consultation period on the tax changes, which closed on Monday. The motion, defeated Tuesday by a vote of 198-89, would have extended the consultations to January. The NDP joined the Liberals (aside from Long) in voting against the motion.
“When I saw the motion, I was like, ‘I can’t vote against this,’” Long said on Wednesday. “Because that’s exactly what I want, it’s exactly what my constituents want, and I’m always going to do what’s best for my constituents.”
The proposed crackdown on the tax breaks available through private corporations has infuriated many business groups, and Long had previously warned he couldn’t support the proposals as currently worded.
The government says its intention is to stop the wealthy from avoiding income taxes by diverting money through such corporations, but opponents say the changes would unfairly punish business owners who take on risks that salaried employees don’t.
Speaking to reporters, Long said he’s prepared to face punishment from the party for his vote. Such punishment, if it’s handed out, often takes the form of reduced responsibilities in parliament, such as membership on committees. But in some cases MPs are booted from caucus altogether.
“I think there’s no surprise that there could be consequences to my vote,” he said. “I’m certainly prepared to accept consequences. But in the end, I need to look in the mirror, I need to do what’s right for me, what’s right for my riding, and represent my constituents.
“During the election campaign I talked long and often about how I would be Saint John–Rothesay’s representative in Ottawa, not Ottawa’s representative in Saint John–Rothesay. And I meant that.”
Long pointed out that he once ran a small business himself, and knows the risks entrepreneurs face. He said he’s optimistic the government’s final proposal will fix many of the problems highlighted by critics, but is still upset at how the consultation was run.
“The consultation period started in July, people weren’t ready for it. Certainly in my riding, people were immediately on the defensive. And that’s not how to do proper consultation.”
He also said the Liberals have damaged their reputation with how the debate was framed.