Conservative leader Andrew Scheer visits Wilmot’s Mountainoak Cheese

Taken from: The Record

New Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer visited Wilmot Township Friday morning to sample local cheese and meet the farmers who made it.

Adam and Hannie van Bergeijk showed Scheer their growing business at Mountainoak Cheese just south of New Hamburg. The new leader of Canada’s Conservative Party arrived with Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht to sample Gouda flavours and greet some friendly cows at the van Bergeijks’ barn.

Scheer’s visit to the Region of Waterloo Friday included meetings with the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. Like he often has in recent weeks, the Conservative leader spoke out against the Liberal government’s proposed reforms for business tax, which have angered many small and medium-sized businesses, farmers, fishers, doctors and lawyers.

“We’re fighting these tax hikes every step of the way,” he said.

“We’ve seen a lot of mixed messages in the last little bit,” he said, adding that the Liberals have used “divisive rhetoric.” Some business owners say they’ve felt targeted by the Liberals for doing something wrong, when they were only following the previous rules.

Among those original tax changes were new limits on “income sprinkling” — when business owners reduce their tax by spreading profits among their family members. The were also new limits on investment income earned within a business, and changes to how family businesses — like farms — are passed down to the next generation.

The Trudeau government has said it’s trying to close loopholes that let rich people use incorporated businesses to unfairly avoid taxes.

After outcry since the plan was revealed in July, the Liberals dialed back some of those plans this week so that only higher-earning business owners will be affected.

But Scheer said the Liberals can’t be trusted not to raise taxes. “Uncertainty … puts local businesses like this one at risk,” he said at Mountainoak Cheese. “We have to keep the heat on.”

Scheer, 38, was picked May 27 as new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. He is also the member of Parliament for Regina — Qu’Appelle in Saskatchewan. He was elected as an MP at age 25 in 2004 and became the youngest Speaker of the House in Canadian history during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.

The new face of the Conservative Party said he’s been busy since taking the leadership in the spring. His family has moved to Ottawa and Scheer said he’s now busy trying to prime his party for an election victory in 2019.

“We have to make the case for conservatism,” he said in Wilmot Friday morning. His party has to show that their policies will improve communities and solve social issues like homelessness — that’s how he believes the Tories can convince people to vote Conservative.

Scheer was also in Hamilton, Flamborough and then Stratford on Oct. 19 to meet local business owners and residents and share his opposition to the Liberal tax reforms for small businesses.