Manitoba’s finance minister says the federal government should abandon its tax-reform proposals and set up an independent commission to examine ways to improve the tax system.

Read: Tax proposal summary: what’s in, what’s out

Cameron Friesen made the point to a Senate committee that is holding hearings across the country on the proposed tax changes.

He says the changes would hurt the middle class and force small businesses to cut investment and jobs.

Friesen says any changes should be part of a broad review of the tax system, similar to the Royal Commission on Taxation of the 1960s under then-prime minister John Diefenbaker.

The federal government is proposing changes that would limit tax breaks such as income sprinkling among family members for private corporations and business owners.

Read: How proposed tax changes target income sprinkling

The proposals have been criticized by business groups, political opponents and people such as physicians and farmers who incorporate their operations.

The committee launched its hearings in Ottawa on Nov. 1 with testimony from Finance Minister Bill Morneau. It has since travelled to Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg to hear from local medical organizations, chambers of commerce and other business groups.

Senators will head to St. John’s, Nfld. on Nov. 20 to start a series of hearings on the East Coast.

Also read:

What Morneau’s achieved from his mandate letter

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