Small business tax backlash tops agenda for Liberal caucus retreat

As they prepare to return to the parliamentary hot seat in two weeks, it seems somehow appropriate that Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal colleagues are holing up in Kelowna, B.C., amid smoke from nearby wildfires, to plot strategy.

Liberal MPs are bracing for sparks to fly during the fall sitting of the House of Commons over a host of issues, first among them, controversial proposals to eliminate tax loopholes the government maintains give wealthy small business owners an unfair tax advantage.

They're expecting the Conservatives to fan the embers of public outrage over the prime minister's decision to pay millions in compensation to Omar Khadr, the one-time detainee in the notorious American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

They're also expecting grief over the flood of refugee claimants arriving at unofficial border crossings and the ongoing fiasco with the Phoenix pay system, which has seen thousands of public servants overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all.

Then there's the legislative agenda packed with potential landmines, including passage of a bill to legalize marijuana by next July _ a speedy timetable meeting stiff resistance in some provinces.

And all this at the halfway point in the Liberals' mandate, as all parties begin to sharpen their knives for the next federal election in two years.