Maguire’s inheritance bill to become law

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A local MP’s year-long quest to get his private member’s bill through both chambers of Parliament reached the finish line on Tuesday after it cleared the Senate.

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This article was published 24/06/2021 (532 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A local MP’s year-long quest to get his private member’s bill through both chambers of Parliament reached the finish line on Tuesday after it cleared the Senate.

First introduced on Feb. 19, 2020, Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire’s Bill C-208 amends the federal Income Tax Act to reduce the amount of taxes paid when a small business, farm or fishing corporation is transferred between family members.

Currently, when a farmer sells their farm to a family member, it’s considered a dividend and taxed accordingly. If that same producer sold their farm to a third party, it would be seen as a capital gain, which is taxed at a lower level. Maguire’s bill seeks to level the playing field by taxing family transfers as a capital gain and not a dividend.

Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire’s Bill C-208 amends the federal Income Tax Act to reduce the amount of taxes paid when a small business, farm or fishing corporation is transferred between family members. (File)

Though the vast majority of MPs from the governing Liberals voted against Maguire’s bill in the House of Commons, the Tories received support from the NDP, Bloc Québécois, the Green Party of Canada and all independents except Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould to pass the bill.

Speaking with the Sun by phone from Ottawa on Wednesday, Maguire said it’s the first time he has gotten a bill passed since he became a member of Parliament in a 2013 byelection. He said that the passage of his bill, along with five other Conservative bills that recently got approved by the Senate, is historic.

See ‘It’s’ — Page A2

According to Maguire, some of the most stringent opposition to his bill came from former Liberal senators delivering anti-business quotes as they tried to kill it in the Red Chamber. He expressed relief that a proposed amendment that would have removed small businesses from being covered by the bill didn’t garner enough support to be implemented.

In 2014, then-Liberal leader Justin Trudeau expelled all Liberal senators from his party’s caucus in an attempt to make the Senate more non-partisan.

“It’s just a real honour for me to be able to carry this bill forward to help family transfers of small, qualifying businesses being able to sell to their children and/or grandchildren without negatively impacted by high tax rates,” Maguire said. “It’s not about creating any loopholes like the senators were talking about — it’s actually levelling the playing field so that families aren’t at a disadvantage to selling to a complete stranger.”

The MP said the Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated that his bill will cost the federal government between $170 and $300 million a year, depending on how many businesses get transferred in a given year.

“About a tenth of a percent of the budget that the federal government just spent,” Maguire quipped.

Given swirling rumours of a federal election being called later this year, Maguire’s bill getting passed also prevents it from losing progress if the writ is dropped and Parliament is dissolved.

“Three of my colleagues — Andrew Scheer, Kevin Waugh from Saskatoon and Randy Hoback — allowed me to continue to move my bill forward because each time it goes through the House, it drops to the bottom of the order paper unless you exchange with someone and we were able to move it forward and therefore have time to get it to the Senate to get it passed before the House rises tonight,” he said.

Asked why he thought he his bill had support from other parties, Maguire said it was a common-sense bill.

“This is the same bill that came forward in 2017 with Guy Caron when he was the interim leader of the NDP,” he said. “The Liberals voted it down at that time, but this time bringing it forward we still had all of the opposition in favour of this bill as we did from coast to coast from chambers of commerce, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. There’s so much industry support.”

In a statement posted to its website on Wednesday, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture wrote that the passage of Maguire’s bill will help “ensure the next generation of family farms is in strong financial health.”

Also having kind words to say was Keystone Agricultural Producers.

“We want to make sure farmers have the tools they need and the ability to successfully transfer their operations as they choose,” KAP policy manager Alanna Gray told the Sun by phone.

She said the profitability and sustainability of family farms as they get passed down between generations is a key concern of KAP members.

“I don’t always think a family farm is what it may be perceived to be,” Gray said. “I lot of people I work with farm with their brothers, their parents, they are a family operation. Somebody keeps the books, somebody’s out there seeding and there’s a lot of work and collaboration between family members.”

Gray said KAP is grateful for all the MPs and senators that voted in favour of the bill, saying it’s a vote of confidence in producers’ importance to the economy and the nation’s food production.

Other bills currently working their way through the House that KAP approves of are Bill C-205, which would improve biosecurity, and Bill C-206, which would provide an exemption from the carbon tax to producers needing to dry their grain.

Maguire’s bill is set to receive royal assent from acting Governor General and Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Richard Wagner in the next few days.

» cslark@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ColinSlark

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