Manitoba's Premier says it is not right that Bill C-208 is currently delayed in federal bureaucracy.

Brian Pallister is referring to the bill to amend the Income Tax Act, involving the transfer of small businesses, family farms, or fishing corporations. Pallister says right now, there is a higher tax if you sell your farm or business to a family member than to somebody else.

"That's not good," he says. "There is a punishment, there is a higher tax if you sell to a family member than if you sell to somebody from another country or another family. And that's not right."

Pallister says the bill, which was brought forward by Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire, passed through the House of Commons but is being held up in the federal bureaucracy of the Finance Department, which he says is not acceptable.

According to Pallister, this is not a partisan issue. Rather, it is an issue of fairness to family farms.

"I commend Larry Maguire for coming forward with the bill," adds Pallister. "I'm also commending members of every political party who supported that bill. So, it's not a partisan thing, I want to be very clear here."

Pallister says he has spoken with the Prime Minister about this issue and if not dealt with, he says almost certainly he will raise it again when they talk. He notes the way it currently reads, the Income Tax Act is punishing those who want to sell to family members and sends the wrong message.

"If a father wants to sell his farm to his daughter or his son, he shouldn't be penalized for doing it," notes the Premier. "If a mother wants to sell to her children, sell her shares to her children, she shouldn't be punished for doing that."

Further to that, he says the capital gains exemption should be increased. He notes the value of family farms has gone up considerably over the last number of years, yet the capital gains exemption has not kept pace, not even close.

"You have a really active entrepreneurial business community throughout the province, in particular actually I think in Steinbach area, Winkler/ Morden, very active small businesses there," says Pallister. "But they shouldn't be discouraged from keeping the business in the family, they should be encouraged to do so."

Pallister says Manitoba is a province of family businesses and a tremendously important aspect of our economy. He says anything his government can do to promote and support agriculture and family business, they will do, because those are the cornerstones of our economy going forward.