Saint John Member of Parliament Wayne Long has broken ranks with the Liberal Party by refusing to sign a key piece of federal government legislation.

Long says the Trudeau government’s new tax policy “punishes the small business community,” and for that reason he will not support his government.

"I believe that these changes we are proposing will have a detrimental effect on small business and for growth in our country," says Long. “I have to do what I think is right as a person, as a member of Parliament and most importantly, as a representative of my constituents."

Small business lobby groups like the Greater Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce say more Liberal MPs need to do the same.

"(Long) has indicated that he will not vote for these changes and he's standing up for the constituency,” says chamber of commerce member David Duplisea. “That's the job of a member of Parliament and we would encourage MPs from all over Canada to follow the likes of Wayne Long."

In recent days the controversial tax changes have been defended by both Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau. For that reason, political observers say there could be consequences for Long’s political career.

"It's almost more about taking away the carrot. You know, the idea that it's not just promotion to cabinet or promotion to parliamentary secretary. It could be where his office is on the hill. There are a number of ways that party whips within parties and party leadership can discipline," says J.P. Lewis of the University of New Brunswick Saint John political science department.

Wayne Long says he informed the federal finance department prior to going public with criticisms of the tax changes. Long says he has not yet received any feedback from either the prime minister’s office or from fellow Liberals about his decision to break ranks with the party.  

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.