When I was a Conservative up until 2011, I didn’t see a problem with the boutique tax credits that they and the Liberals both routinely promote. Now I want things simpler and more fair. Here is what I mean.
Imagine you are a two income family with great jobs. You are able to sock away a couple thousand dollars a year to your child’s RESP; their Registered Education Savings Plan. The government matches your contributions and you build up a nest egg for your child’s University. The Conservatives are campaigning in this election that they will expand matching funds to be increased to even more than the parents contribution. Given these carrots, people that are pretty well off might be more inclined to vote Conservative. Similarly if you can afford to have your child in football with all that expensive equipment, here is a fitness tax credit for you.
Now imagine you are a single parent living on minimum wage and and being in poverty even with picking up all the overtime you can. You have a child that needs clothes and all the other things you would expect, that keeps you on the edge of losing your home. You can’t find any dollars to save for a future education and the government matches your zero with an evenly matched nothing. Your child, brilliant as he is, won’t get a scholarship; but, he would have made a fine doctor. It isn’t likely he is going to be able to study and complete that intensive education while also working to cover tuition and his living expenses. This child will also not have teen years of being involved in school football or anything else that costs money.
This is where the big two parties, gifting the more affluent with enough perks to ensure their continued turns at election, are leaving good people and hard working people behind. I would rather the matching government funds be replaced with lowering the cost of education for everyone across the board. Then it is fair for everyone and not a system that most benefits the more financially secure at the expense of the lesser blessed. The Greens would prefer we treat post secondary education of university, college and the trades as tuition free as is public grade and high school. The cost of this would be fully paid for if we collected just one third of the annual unpaid taxes that the elite hide In offshore tax havens, and have been doing so for very many years under the Conservative and Liberal leadership alike.
So here is something else to consider, regarding these two traditional federal parties favouring the wealthier citizens through grants, rebates and credits. If you give a $5,000 rebate for someone to buy an electric car, you will help those that can afford a more expensive car. There are a lot more people though, that can afford a new car only up to about a $20,000 loan, and they can not afford an electric car even with a rebate. They will instead be buying a cheaper gas powered car which unfortunately costs more than 5 times as much to operate and has heavy carbon emissions. Now, suppose the government didn’t give that $5,000 to everyone buying an electric car, but instead offered an interest free loan for anything above the $20,000 you are spending on a car, provided it is an all electric vehicle. A commuter to and from Toronto for work will easily save $450 a month in gas and more money in less annual maintenance costs. The savings in gasoline could be used to pay off the interest free loan, while the purchaser pays off the first $20,000 as they would be normally for a gas vehicle purchase. This allows anyone that can reasonably afford to buy a basic new car, the opportunity to upscale it to an electric option. As for the benefit to the government, they will only be responsible for covering the interest of the loan above the first $20,000 – so can help more people get into electric cars with the same $5,000 than just helping one person. Virtually anyone that would be able to buy a new car, could get into an electric model and have a zero carbon footprint, which also promotes our plan for shifting to all electric transportation and being carbon neutral.
Simpler taxes with less rebates and more fairness is what I would like to see. An approach that helps everyone, not just the middle class or richer Canadians getting more dollars in their pockets while poorer individuals struggle even more.
I grew during my time as a police officer. I didn’t let it get me hard and crusty. I had it show me where injustices existed in our society, and when the Green Party came on my radar and I realized they advocate for better ways of doing things, I found myself having to try and advance them. I hope that you will allow me to help bring smart and fair ideas into our government as your MP.