Mulcair lends an ear.

Mike Sullivan, Asha Ahmed, Tom Mulcair.
M.P. Mike Sullivan, Wiff owner Asha Ahmed, Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair.

MP Mike Sullivan and Federal Opposition Leader, Tom Mulcair hosted a small business round table on Wednesday, February 11th, inside Wiff Restaurant, a Somali fusion eatery on Weston Road.

According to Mulcair, small and medium sized businesses are responsible for 80% of new jobs in Canada, hence his election year push into Weston to gauge the mood of Weston’s entrepreneurial community. He acknowledged that these are very tight times for small businesses in the GTA.

Mulcair is promising to lower the small and medium business tax rate from 11% to 9%, along with an accelerated capital cost allowance. He claimed that the Conservatives have reduced the tax burden for large businesses to the tune of $15 billion. ‘The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer’, he declared.

A wide variety of enterprises were represented included brewing, urban farming, book selling, money transfer, dry cleaners, chartered accountancy and store-front businesses. The common thread of comments seemed to be how hard it is to operate a business here in York South-Weston, especially when such difficulties are compounded by rampant obstructionism from all three levels of government. There seems to be a perception of super efficiency when it comes to enforcement of rules and assessment of taxes combined with a reluctance to provide any service in return. Another business owner bristled against what seems to be a fixed Federal Government procuring process. Mention was made of store owners unable to afford fuel so they operate in cold buildings.

Mulcair promised to look into the big banks’ refusal to work with companies that send remittance monies overseas. Only one bank deals with remittance companies but apparently charges outrageous rates.

Many business owners expressed the concern that until they make a profit, they won’t be paying any business income tax. I heard afterwards that one city inspector is presently making things difficult for at least two Weston businesses while others endure irritants such as excessive development charges and bloody-minded nit-picking. The entrepreneurs seemed to agree that more is needed to help businesses thrive along with less red tape and a reduction in municipal and provincial taxation.

Federal business tax reductions won’t help struggling businesses. Nine percent of zero is still zero.

Oh yes, citizens of Weston we can help: if you want a vibrant walkable shopping district, support local businesses. Buy Local.

Mulcair Visiting Weston Wednesday.

MP Mike Sullivan and Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair will be appearing in Weston Wednesday February 11 to host a small business round table at Wiff Restaurant on 1804 Weston Road (just south of Lawrence). The half-hour event begins at 3:00.

Sullivan will also be hosting two free community events this coming long weekend.

On Sunday, Sullivan will mark the 50th anniversary of Canada’s Maple Leaf flag with a special flag-raising ceremony and reception at the Mount Dennis Legion, 1050 Weston Rd. The event starts at 1:00 p.m. Attendees will receive flag lapel pins. The reception will include light refreshments.

On Monday, Sullivan will host a Family Day Skating Party at the outdoor community rink in Pearen Park starting at 10:30 a.m. Pearen Park is located on the north side of Eglinton Ave., just west of Weston Rd. There will be free hot chocolate and skates can be borrowed for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

“I’m inviting everyone to come to these two special events. Our flag is an important national symbol that unites Canadians. And skating is pretty much a national pastime for Canadians of all ages. These two events give us an opportunity to celebrate Canada and what it means to be Canadian,” said Sullivan.