Politics This Morning: Trudeau holds cabinet meeting as he looks to contain fallout from proposed tax changes

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, pictured at the budget 2017 lock up, is expected to be in attendance for today's cabinet meeting in Ottawa, a day after he joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in announcing a gradual 1.5 point cut in the small business tax by 2019. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

PUBLISHED :Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 10:50 PM

Happy Wednesday morning,

The front bench of the Liberal government is meeting this morning in Ottawa as they look to contain the fallout from their contentious proposed tax reforms.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold the cabinet meeting at 9:30 a.m., which comes a day after he joined Finance Minister Bill Morneau to announce the Liberals would lower the small business tax from 10.5 per cent to nine per cent by 2019, when the next federal election is expected. The announcement was seen by many as a way to counteract the furious reaction among many small business owners to the government’s plans to weaken the tax-savings benefits of incorporation.

Mr. Trudeau will then head down the 401 to Toronto to make an announcement at 2 p.m. at the headquarters of Canadian media giant Corus Entertainment.

  

The prime minister will remain in the Big Smoke to attend the Canada-India Business Council Diwali dinner later in the evening at the Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto. Mr. Trudeau will be joined at the dinner, scheduled for 6:45 p.m., by International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains. He’s expected to deliver brief remarks at the dinner.

As for Mr. Morneau, he will discuss the Liberal government’s aforementioned tax reform proposals and plans to lower the small business tax rate at an event in Montréal at 10:15 a.m.

Back in Ottawa, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre and Conservative Treasury Board critic Gérard Deltell will be hosting a media availability at 9:30 a.m. in the House foyer for the Tories’ opposition day motion calling for Mr. Morneau to table all documents he provided to ethics commissioner about his family business Morneau Shepell, in the wake of a Globe and Mail story revealing the minister hasn’t put his investments in the firm in a blind trust.

NDP parliamentary leader Guy Caron and NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen will also address the media about what they claim is a conflict of interest for the the finance minister at 10 a.m. in the Centre Block foyer.

  

Mr. Morneau maintains that Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson told him he didn’t need to put his investments in a blind trust.

Heading south to Washington, D.C., U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal will be releasing a joint statement at the conclusion of the fourth round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which were hosted in the U.S. capital. 

There will be a media availability at 4 p.m. at the city’s Government Services Administration Headquarters Building.

Back in Canada’s capital, Conservative MP Tony Clement will address the media in the House foyer at 1 p.m. to discuss the introduction of his private member’s bill, the Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act. Mr. Clement, his party’s critic for public services and procurement, will be joined by Conservative MP and party critic for public safety Pierre Paul-Hus.

  

Bloc Québécois MP Marilène Gill is also holding a press conference today to discuss her private member’s bill, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (pension plans and group insurance plans). She will be joined by Steelworkers Union representative Nicolas Lapierre during her announcement, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the House foyer.

Later on, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is attending the Senate’s Question Period from 3:30-4:10 p.m.

Speaking of parliamentary work, the House Finance Committee is continuing its eastern swing to hear from Canadians and stakeholders about the upcoming 2018 budget with a stop in Halifax. It heads to Montreal tomorrow.

Keeping with Parliament, Conservative MP Guy Lauzon is hosting the official book launch of his autobiography From Lawbreaker to Lawmaker from 12:30-1:30 p.m in Centre Block’s Commonwealth Room. The book explores Mr. Lauzon’s personal life, his early struggles with alcohol addiction, how he overcame his addiction, and his election to the House.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Community Addiction and Mental Health Centre at the Cornwall Community Hospital.  

And finally, the Canadian Medical Association is marking its 150th birthday with food, drinks, and musical entertainment this evening at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building. The event starts at 5:30 p.m.

Have a great day!

The Hill Times