An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau on Tax Fairness

September 5, 2017

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

My name is Jake Leguee, and I am a farmer in Saskatchewan. I am writing this letter to express my grave concerns with your plan for what you refer to as “tax fairness”. While I am not an accountant or a tax expert, I know enough to be apprehensive about the changes you and Mr. Morneau plan to enact.

I take offense to being labelled as a tax cheat. I, along with my parents, my sister and my own young family, along with our two full-time employees (one being a brother in law), all work together in this wonderful business we call farming. We grow food, we work hard to improve our community, and we are excited about the prospect of a fourth generation someday having the opportunity to take over this farm.

Your tax changes will severely challenge our ability to pass on this farm. You will penalize my parents for passing their land on to me. Land that they paid for a long time ago; land that I will never sell. I will never realize the capital gains on that land. Why should my parents be taxed for passing it on? Why should I be taxed for someday passing it on to my own children?

Farming is a tough business. We rely on the weather to provide for us; even if we do absolutely everything right, one bad storm can take it all away. It is very difficult to manage a farm well enough to have the opportunity for the next generation to take over, even without having to worry about taxes. Notice how drastically the number of farms has collapsed over the past century?

Don’t get me wrong; all small businesses have similar challenges. Succession is hard. Passing along a business to your children should be celebrated by government. Small business is the backbone of this great country. They provide jobs, and innovation, and growth for all Canadians. We small business people don’t have pensions, or employment insurance, or health benefits. We must cover all of that on our own. Furthermore, we provide those services to our employees, who also work hard in the community and provide for their children. So much rides on the success of our businesses.

You talk about closing loopholes, and creating tax fairness. What you are missing is that the playing field already is out of whack. Employees have a lot of benefits that we small business people don’t have. And that’s okay. We can live without these benefits for the opportunity to build something. We aren’t just out there to make money – we do what we do to build a legacy. We do it to provide jobs, and look after our employees. We do it to give our children the opportunity to take the next step, and do amazing things we could never even dream of.

As a child, I spent most of the time I wasn’t in school helping out on the farm. It was hard work, but I loved it. It was how I could spend time with my Dad, who worked seemingly every hour of every day. The farm didn’t pay me to save money on taxes, it paid me because I earned it. This taught me the value of hard work, and how to save money and prepare budgets for it. None of this had anything to do with cheating taxes.

My farm provides a living for seven people, not to mention my own little son and our next child that is on the way. But our farm does far more. As we grow, we purchase equipment, tools, parts, inputs, and so many other things our farm needs. Along with the other farms in this area, we provide jobs for hundreds of people, from mechanics to engineers to biologists and sales people. This farm isn’t a tax haven; it, along with every other farm and all the other small businesses around us, are powering Canada’s future.

Don’t take that away.

Mr. Prime Minister, please reconsider your tax fairness proposal. The future of this great country we call Canada depends on it.


Jake Leguee

74 Thoughts

    1. It is irrelevant, The government needs more money so they can donate to the Clinton foundation, who then can donate to Trudeau’s foundation. After a $30 B deficit, promising a $10 B deficit, and “the budget will balance itself” and donating millions to other countries, there is only one thing left to do, tax the middle class (can’t get money from the homeless, and taxing the rich only raises so much) in order to do more grandiose actions. Note to get a seat on the (UN) security council requires a lot of donations.
      So while your letter is succinct and to the point it is irrelevant.

    2. One thing the government also does not mention is that the system is set up for share holders to pay tax of 45-55% (corporate and personal tax) on every dollar by the time the shareholder puts the money in their own bank account… So the system actually works, but CRA just needs to ensure that people comply..

    3. Jake ,Justin never had to worry about a paycheck in his life and he runs the country the same way he Justin Sunshine, not a worry in the world for him.BTW he and his father hated the west!

      1. Justin ‘inherited’ his father’s business. He never had to worry about actually working for a living and his sense of entitlement shows it.

  1. Well said Jake. Totally agree. We also work together with our father and son to build a family farm for the future. I too hope the government listens.

  2. Very well written and factual. I hope you listen, Mr. Prime Minister, because the future of our country depends on it.

  3. Yes Amen!!!! You Sir…hit the nail right on the head!! Thank you for so perfectly portraying what we as farmers do and feel in our chosen lifestyle….or rather the lifestyle that chose us…because this is more than just a job…a business…it is in every fiber of who we are for generation!

  4. Thankyou Jake! Your letter pertains to all of us out here in the Ag sector! It’s not enough that they aren’t trying to “bury” the Agricultural sector in this Country, they are deliberately sabotaging our Children’s and Grandchildren’s Futures too.Shows how little Real Life experience J T had before running for Prime Minister, when he will say things like ~ “the Budget will Balance itself~” and on the question of these Tax changes ~ “People are resilient and innovative, they will figure it out” – and carry on.

    1. Thank you Jake we are small farmers and thier is money coming in but seed fertilizers and spray cost are high but if you don’t want a weed patch you do what is nessary

  5. Thank you,your writing is so accurate of the situation. We are in the process of trying to retire and let our 2 boys to take over the grain farming. We have no benefits or pensions as wage earners do. These proposed tax changes will make it a real financial battle. We have worked a life time to get to this point and now he thinks we are just going to take it as he changes our lives with these proposed changes not now not ever

    1. Thanks for the response. It’s very difficult to grow a business and transfer it to the next generation. And when the government decides it needs a larger piece of the pie, it’s very disheartening.

      1. Well written and I agree with you ….. As long as property is kept in the family ( and it shouldn’t matter if it’s a home in the city or farm/ranch that’s passed down ) the greedy government should not get more taxes than they have already been getting and will continue to get from the family…once it’s sold outside the family that’s a different story…..Anne

      2. To Jake and all other small business owners, your letter was well written, and makes all the points that the majority of business owners do not cheat the government. Good years of crops, money needs to be put away for the lean years when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or for new equipment to make your farm more efficient and profitable. I sincerely hope that all small business owners and the general public will write and push for this ridiculous tax scheme to be dropped. This new taxation will generate $250 Million Dollars new revenue dollars for the Liberal Government, when in the first two years they have given away over $5 Billion Dollars to Muslim countries. Both Justin Trudeau and Bill Mornneau come from Elitists families. Bill Morneau is married into the McCain Family and received $ 1 Million dollars per year just to be related. These two silver spoon royalist just have to reel in their drunken sailor spending habits. I have already signed a petition over this new tax scheme. Keep up the pressure on the Liberal government.

  6. As my family history has my Mom coming from a huge family of farmers, some who are still farming to this day. They are able to because the farm used the kids to help with the harvest and seeding. I am a teacher by trade so it gives me an opportunity to help people out at harvest time. Farming is one of the hardest professions I know. As Jake mentioned, they are weather dependent and we know how that has been lately. Thanks Jake, keep up the good work and I hope more government officials read your letter because I would assume that you speak for the majority, if not all, farmers.

  7. Well said. Needs thorough unbiased government look to future. In mid 1970’s the federal and Sask. governments decided to stop non residents of Sask. from buying land there. I was raised on the family farm in Sask. but a poorly thought out new law prevented me and my young Canadian family then living and working in another nearby province from returning to buy the family farm. I understand most farms there are now owned by large corporations!!!Careful who you want paying the TAX.

  8. So….what about the many small business people that do cheat on their taxes. Not every corner store owner, B & B owner or farmer is as honest as Jake Leguee seems to be. Do we just let that carry on? Could this be like many laws that have been enacted in the past and then tweaked to become more fair to everyone? Is there an easy answer to stop those who are tax cheats?

    1. They’re using a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed. The amount of tax cheating going on is very small, and this actually does nothing to the very wealthy. It specifically targets small businesses.

    2. Get a real life W. W Watts, the gov’t. has thousands of tax fraud accountants etc. to look after the cheaters, but you sound like a manager I once had, wanted me to punish everyone of the 40 men I supervised so I would not miss a couple of less than great employees, and that makes me totally SICK!

    3. It sounds like you have never operated a small business or family farm or you would realize tax cheating is almost non existent……look harder at big corporations re tax evasion

      1. The tax evasion is rampant in all small business, as it is in large business, just more money taken legally in both cases, need to make it fair .Working people don’t get to write off all of the expenses, like fuel, pick up to go to work , break on farm land taxes, insurance ,repairs, buildings, make that even and then we can talk…

      2. And we also don’t get pensions, health and dental benefits, vacation pay, maternity leave, employment insurance, and so on. Work all that out and you’ll find that the math shows we actually take home less than employees do after taxes.

  9. Things have not changed historically since I can remember( over 60 years). The small farmers were being crowded (taxed) off their family holdings then and apparently still are. I grew up in a small Saskatchewan farming village/town. Most of my Aunts and uncles farmed, so I became aware of all the work and problems that dominated their lives then. They are all gone now but my cousins it seems are still fighting the same fight.

  10. Jake,
    You are much more polite than Trudeau deserves, but kudos to you for being able to maintain your composure while confronting such disrespect towards the hard and honest work of Canadians like yourself. I am not a farmer, nor a small business owner, but I will speak up for injustice when I see it and this latest tax grab by Trudeau is just that – unjust. If he and Morneau push through with this, let’s hope they get their comeuppance in 2019 and your pain will be short lived when we can vote a government in that will undo the treachery of these current spendthrifts.

    1. Lori Hunter – hear hear!! I heartily agree with you; I’m just not sure Canadians are smart enough to want to get rid of pm poopsie. After all, they were foolish enough to elect him in the first place, knowing full well he thinks business owners are all cheats and thieves. Such a scumbag, just like his father.

  11. So true. The farming industry is at the mercy of Mother Nature and God you don’t need government making it any tougher than it is. If we don’t protect family farms an important part of history will be gone forever and what is more important than producing food ?

  12. So true! These proposed tax changes will effect not only agriculture but all small business that have to struggle to make ends meet for their families and their employees.

    1. This just isn’t correct. If you aren’t sprinkling your high income to your family, it will not affect you. For example, if your income is $300,000.00, you can save $48,000.00 in taxes. Guess who that hurts? It hurts the average tax payer. The lower and middle class. I worked as an accountant and this is regular practice for high income owners of small and medium sized businesses.
      As far as this goes I understand it can be very difficult and I hope something can be worked out that makes this fair to the local farmers that are important to all of us. At the same time, it shouldn’t come at a cost to the average tax payer if they are drawing a very large income.

      1. What world do you live in that you think all small businesses make lots of money? Most small businesses, including farms, make less than 75k a year, and still employ over 50% of Canada’s workers. Income sprinkling is only 1 of 3 major changes, which also includes capital gains and passive investments. This is a huge tax increase on small businesses. And guess who works for small businesses? Most Canadians. These costs will be passed on.

  13. Farming is a good life, but it is hard work and can be very stressful. I have lived my married life on a farm through some bad years and some good years. I was the hired man working along side my husband, saving, making our own repairs, paying all of our bills and land payments to be successful. Now Canada is making it so they can take what we worked hard for to pay for there foolish spending..

    1. We already support a lot of people with their hands out, the banks, the implement dealerships, the chemical, fertilizer companies, fuel, the grain terminals, the accountants,municipal taxes,taxes, crop insurance, bins to store your grain, and the list keeps growing, there prices keep going up when grain prices go up, and they don’t go down when grain prices do. There are already many people making a better living off farmers, and all we do is the hard work. We already feed the world …

  14. Well said! Farmer and small business owners are pationate and proud of the operations they have grown. Succession planning takes 5-10+ years for most business owners–this move reverses years of planning that many no longer have the luxury of time to afford by adapting to change and more large scale changes. I have no problem paying a fair amount of taxes as a business owner–the rules better be very clear for business owners and tax auditors better be very well trained and knowledgeable when dealing with small business owners. My son is 13 and works long hours and s on “call” for our family farm work. What’s a fair wage for “overtime and on call work”? What is a lease, why buy bulk fuel,? All things the tax review person better know well-I’m tired of arguing not to have them listen to the same thing the person with a CMA has behind his name tells them. Don’t insult our intelligence. Be real-open your eyes Liberals this tax is a sinker on so many levels except job creation for pumped up-power zealous, auditors and govt workers.

  15. I think Trudeau et al have said the idea needs to be tweeted. The issue is
    that a person making $50,000 a year pays more taxes than someone making $200,000 a year, and that is simply wrong. That needs to change, and that is what they are doing.

    1. This is very correct. My whole working life, I have heard people complaining about the unjust loopholes. This loophole is the most used and abused. It will only matter to someone drawing a big income from their business and ‘tax sprinkling’. Why should the average tax payer have to make up those lost taxes. We have been complaining about tax loopholes and wanting our governments to do something. Finally, something is being done.

      1. These should never have been referred to as “tax loopholes”. These are, and have always been, legitimate options for entrepreneurs to use to reduce their tax load. The government has been and should continue to provide incentives for people to start up their own businesses. That is what drives the economy and, thereby, hire employees.

    2. Judy Smith
      How does someone making $50,000.00 a year pay more in taxes than someone making $200,000.00 where are you getting your numbers and information I need to find this info

  16. Very well written Jake. I hope you get a response. We have to speak out, and you’ve given a voice to many. I went onto the Canadian Taxpayers website and signed the petition to stop this ridiculous plan, and we all should do that as well as write letters to MP’s, MLA’s etc. It hurts everyone, not just small business owners and farmers. We need to stop taking this garbage on the chin and make some noise (more than just complain to our neighbors!) about our displeasure or these changes will indeed happen and we will all pay!

  17. I would not be surprised if our government made the dairy, poultry, and egg marketing board farmers exempt from this tax, because they seem determined to protect them at all costs.

  18. You bleeding hearts all chose your living, dependent on the weather. The blue collar worker continues to pay the lions share of taxes in every shape and form, Its only fair that farmers can’t continue to push back there taxes year to year. As a blue collar worker I am taxed on any smart investment or housing sale and with a rate of 43% on every buck I make. Pay your share and quit crying the blues. If you can’t take the heat get out of the fire.

    1. That also works in the reverse Jim – you chose your living too. You also have access to health and dental plans, paid vacation time, employment insurance, overtime pay, a pension… I could go on. The worst thing about this whole tax change is pitting small business people against everyday employees. We are blue collar workers too, and believe it or not, we already pay a lot of tax, while employing folks like yourself.

      1. My employer doesn’t pay for those benefits for me, other than the employer portion of EI. I’m sure it would be your responsibility to arrange some time for vacation and pay. As a young farmer, we had plenty of down time. But you too can pay for these benefits through your corporation and portions of it is deductible. I pay for Blue Cross and Wawanesa for my benefits. If you are not a union or government employee, you will find many, possibly the majority, that pay those costs themselves. We don’t all work for big corporations and oil companies.

      2. That’s right – you work for small business, like most Canadians. Taxing them more will only result in less employment and lower pay. Otherwise, businesses will not survive in this new climate.

      3. I worked for small and medium sized businesses making good profits. Just as I did with my own company. But the loophole was there and if its there, why not use it.

    2. This is not entirely true. Prior to 2016 you didn’t have to even report a sale of a primary home sale to CRA, never mind pay capital gains. After 2016 you still don’t pay capital gains but it has to be reported. There are rules for house flippers that have to pay tax on capital gains, as they should. We pay tax on our income.
      Let’s not even pretend that this is about anything more than people believing that one group of people is benefitting from something that another group of people is not. Now, I think it is complete ignorance for anyone to deny that small business and farmers aren’t putting in their fair share. What do you think is going to happen to people who work for small business when that small business or farmer can’t afford the additional tax burden and your salary and benefits.
      I am a farm wife, we are currently in our 4th harvest since we bought a farm and machinery and started from scratch. We are not generational farmers. We invest blood, sweat, tears and every penny we have imto our livelihood because we believe in what we are building. We risk everything to do what we do so that there is food on your table. If we lose our job, there isn’t one in the next office building. If we lose our job, we lose literally everything and have to start over somewhere else. We have to set aside for wrecks of a year, like this one. Believe me there is nothing worse than watching one year of no rain drain 10 years of equity. Anyone who thinks crop insurance is helpful to anyone but the government that owns it is delusional. You literally have to grow nothing to get any kind of a payout that doesn’t even begin to cover the expenses of what it takes to put in a crop.
      We currently employ a hired man who is using his salary and benefits that we pay to provide for his young family.
      There might be a small percentage of people abusing the tax benefits and maybe those benefits need to be reviewed but in a manner that doesn’t pit groups of people against each other.
      There are plenty of ways that this government is bleeding money but taxing the very people that are employing you and 90% of the workforce isn’t the way to go about fixing their lack of cash flow. And the way the government is going about their proposal feels like they are pulling a fast one. Imagine the tax rules changing 2 weeks before income tax filing deadline. There are retiring farmers that have planned for decades their retirement funded by the sale of their farm and are now facing major taxes with these changes. Agriculture is not a get rich quick scheme.

      1. Very well said Ashley. The emotion in your response is absolutely indicative of a small business owner – a farmer. No one who hasn’t been through what you’re talking about will ever understand the pain, the fear, the stress that comes with putting it all on the line every year. Thank you for such a powerful comment.

  19. so so true, if JT thinks he needs more money because of all of HIS overspending; then HE SHOULD Take from HIS FOUNDATION; not the taxpayers and most certainly should NOT be allowed to justify his new taxes. It is HIS error for all of the spending; not the taxpayers of Canada. WE NEED A TAX REVOLT! !!! NOW TODAY.. NO MORE MONEY TO THE EAST.

  20. Don’t give me the BS. I know the tax system. I have given many employers advice on how to save small and medium businesses taxes. It was my job to save them as much as possible in taxes. And absolutely, it meant using and yes, abusing this loophole. Tax Sprinkling is done mostly by business owners drawing a high income. They pay their families an income to reduce their income. Simple as that. I’ve used it for my income from my business but just retired so I can applaud this government for doing what is right by average taxpayers.

  21. I’m sorry to say if you don’t think farmers don’t get a good deal your sadly mistaken. You avoid CVIP inspections do you not? You avoid proper wide load rules down the high way do you not? You get insurance if your field gets hit do you not? You get to choose your hours of operation unless calving do you not? Every small business pays except for farming are they not? Oh wait I think forestry and fishing get a lot also. So if you want to be a mechanic you get to avoid cvip every one else in this country has to provide? You can’t even give a car away now going between provinces you have to pay tax on it what gives you entitlement that you get to avoid taxes when even some one that make 30,00 has to pay? Let’s get real here farmers are only farmers cause it be offensive to call you whiners😂

  22. I do have a question about this… is this farmer incorporated or a sole proprietorship? Because if he is incorporated, then he would be paying himself a salary, and taxed under personal income, and the business pays CPP and Ei on his behalf, just like everyone else. If he is a sole proprietorship, none of the proposed changes apply to him, and he can pay family members whatever he wants. 90% of the people out there talking negatively about the tax changes are sole proprietors who have been lied to by the opposition saying their business will be affected. It won’t. In the end, only Incorporated tax shelters for the wealthy will be affected, because if you are incorporated, you should be paying yourself a wage. And if you are paying yourself a lower wage to be in a lower tax bracket, and paying a spouse for doing little to nothing just so you have a lower taxable household income, you are cheating the system, plain and simple.

    1. Yes Brad, most producers are incorporated. The reason for this is for tax savings and potentially a reduction in personal liability. Yes, we pay ourselves salaries and dividends, but we are not eligible for EI. the proposed changes will have a tremendous tax impact and may be the biggest tax change in 40 years (source – MNP). Changes to tax on income sprinkling, capital gains and passive investments will hit farmers very hard, but also most other small businesses as well. As a child, I was paid for work that I did. The advantage was lowering my parents taxes, but that was not the primary reason. These changes will make this much more difficult to do. On a side note, these options have nothing to do with cheating the system. These are options designed into the system to give email businesses tax incentives to grow, which helps grow the economy as a whole, which then provides more jobs and prosperity. That’s how capitalism works. Take more taxes from them and you hurt everyone. The government doesn’t have a tax revenue problem – it has a spending problem. This is nothing more than an opportunity to get more tax dollars.

  23. When you have a prime minister who at age 40 has zero work experience who was born wealthy, is arrogant, has a ‘friend’ Gerald butts advise him on what to do, tell Canadians that he understands what people are going through and he will help everybody by helping the ‘middle class,’ have you ever heard him not give an answer to any question? no matter how dumb it sounds or how ignorant it is, we have dogs in the neighbourhood here that bark a lot more intelligence than he does with his ah ah blabber. He can’t go for another four years.

  24. Excellent letter Jake. We are coming up to the stage of the farm being passed on to us by my in laws. They have struggled to keep their farm throughout the years. Ourselves we, like you have no desire to sell the land. The only cheat I see is the fellow who lies about vacations, among many other things.

  25. Thank you for your eloquent letter. While I’m not in the agriculture field, I do own a small business that provides work for 20 people. There is tangible risk towards being an entrepreneur and with that risk requires the potential upside to justify the effort. Small business owners provide our economy with diversity, jobs, innovative and unique services, and exemplify a sense of spirit that makes our country great. I just sent my letter in to the PM, and to make him aware of how this ridiculous tax grab not only punishes our current economy, but will dissuade and stifle entrepreneurship and innovation for the future.

  26. This move allows large corporations to scoop up more farmland. There are already concerns about foreign ownership of our land and this just helps countries like China along in taking over our food production.

  27. It’s amusing how our Prime Minister in a very short time of leadership has been able to put different sectors of our Canadian population against each other. First oil and gas, pipelines East and West, farmers against blue collar. We are all just Canadians trying to stay Canadian and have a stress free, happy life, with our neighbour who is different than us. I wonder what his own children do when they don’t understand why somebody is different? He won’t be much help explaining diversity unless he read it in a text book. It certainly won’t come from his heart

  28. Thank you for your letter unfortunately I do not believe He gives a rats ass about this country. He was heir to the throne for the Liberals who had very slim pickings for their leadership. This Drama teaching ski instructor will do as much damage if not more than his Daddy.He knows so little about this country and if you need proof pay attention to how many questions the man has answered during question period .He is incapable of answering most. And more often than not has been proven to be the village idiot who lies through his teeth.

    1. Jake!! I admire your passionate and VERY well written request to the Prime Minister, SADLY!! I do not think it will make a bit of difference, Many of his actions are beyond COMMON sense,, I served with honor and dignity in the Canadian Military for 33 years ready to defend with my life ..if necessary..the Canadian ways of life.. Today at age 88 I am fully PREPARED to agin give my life for myy country,, NOT for these mealy mouthed . self serving elitests, who have never placed “THEIR LIVES ,ON THE LINE”. I PRAY wiser heads and hearts too, will prevail .. STAND TALL ,and keep fighting for OUR rights,

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