Here is a link to my post on the “100 reasons to vote for the Harper Conservatives on October 19th, 2015. And, no, I am not connected in any way to the Conservative Party of Canada, be it as a staffer, volunteer or contributor. I am just an ordinary retirement aged citizen who has seen a lot of governments come and go over the years.
Why am I doing this? I am doing this to set the record straight as there is a lot of misinformation out there. For example, contrary to what many think, the Harper PMO is no different in terms of “caucus discipline,” “issues management” or “messaging” than any other PMO, no matter which political party was in power. To think otherwise is just plain naïve.
Please note that I will not approve comments that are not polite and productive because none of the items on my list reflect my personal opinion. In fact, each is linked to a non-partisan source, or sources, that explains what that item is about. I realize I have left out some good points but I had to stop somewhere.
In my riding of Niagara Falls, Ontario, I plan to vote for Conservative MP Rob Nicholson.
The Conservative Government, with Stephen Harper at the helm, needs another majority mandate on October 19, 2015 because they are the only federal political party that doesn’t think they know better how to spend our hard-earned money, particularly those of us in the “Middle Class.”
For example, a family of four is now paying approximately $3,400 less in taxes than before the Conservatives were elected at the end of January 2006.
There is an old saying, something to the effect, that the proof is in the pudding, or in the eating of the pudding. Below — in both topic and chronological order — are some 50+ tax relief highlights of the pudding we are now eating. (Please note the various federal budgets are listed in the “Endnotes”).
The Conservative Tax Relief Record:
- The GST: The GST rate was reduced from 7% to 6%, effective July 1, 2006 and from 6% to 5% effective January 1, 2008. In 2015, the government also maintained the GST quarterly credit for low and middle-income Canadians (P.230 in 2015).
- Personal Income Taxes: The lowest personal income tax (PIT) rate was reduced to 15.5% from 16%, effective July 1, 2006 and to 15% in later years.
- Personal Exemptions: The basic personal exemption amount has increased each year — from $8,148 to $8,648 for 2005, from $8,428 to $8,839 for 2006, from $8,713 to $8,929 in 2007, from $9,278 to $9,299 in 2008, and from $10,110 to $10,131 — up to $11,327 in 2015.
- Canada Employment Credit: The Canada Employment Credit was introduced on July 1, 2006 and increased to $1,000 in 2007.
- Cost of Tools: Small business tradesmen were able to deduct the cost of tools up to $500 for costs in excess of $1,000.
- Textbook Credit: A Textbook Tax Credit was introduced up to $65 per month.
- Scholarship Exemption: Elementary, secondary and post-secondary student scholarship and bursary income were exempted from tax.
- Child Fitness Credit: The Children’s Fitness Tax Credit was introduced in 2007 for up to $500 in eligible fees per child, doubled in 2014 and made refundable in 2015.
- Pension Income Credit: The Pension Income Credit was doubled to $2,000 from $1,000.
- Corporate Dividends: Tax on large corporation dividends was reduced (by increasing gross-up to 45% from 25% and dividend tax credit to 19% from 13.3%)
- Medical Expenses: Increased the maximum Refundable Medical Expenses Supplement from $767 to $1,000 and expanded the list of eligible expenses under the Medical Expense Tax Credit to include blood coagulation monitoring devices and their disposable peripherals.
- Public Transit Credit: Introduced the Public Transit Tax Credit, effective July 1, 2006.
- Capital Gains Exemption: Eliminated capital gains tax on donations of publicly listed securities and ecogifts to public charities.
- Capital Gains Increase: Increased the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to $800,000 and indexed the new limit to inflation.
- Fishing Gains Exemption: Extended the $500,000 lifetime capital gains exemption and intergenerational rollover to fishing property.
- Permanent Residence Fee: Reduced the Right of Permanent Residence Fee from $975 to $490.
- Mineral Exploration Credit: Extended the 15% mineral exploration tax credit to March 31, 2007.
- Working Income Tax Benefit: Introduced the Working Income Tax Benefit (P.230 in 2015 ).
- Donations on Private Corporations: Eliminated the capital gains tax on donations of publicly listed securities to private foundations.
- Lifetime Increase for RESPs: Increased the lifetime contribution limit to $50,000 for Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs).
- Eliminated RESP limit: Eliminated the RESP annual contribution limit.
- Expanded RESP Access: Expanded access to RESP savings for part-time studies.
- RESP Asset Sharing: Provided subscribers of separate individual RESPs with the same flexibility to allocate assets among siblings as exists for subscribers of family plans.
- Child Tax Credit: Introduced the Child Tax Credit (initial amount of $2,000) which does not affect UCCB.
- Child Tax Credit Change: Eliminated the one-per-household rule for the Child Tax Credit.
- Spousal/Dependant Increase: Increased the spousal and eligible dependant amounts from $7,581 to $8,929.
- Capital Gains Exemption: Increased the lifetime capital gains exemption from $500,000 to $750,000.
- Truck Drivers Meal Deduction: Gradually increased the deduction for meal expenses of truck drivers from 50% of the allowable amount in 2006 to 80% in 2011.
- RDSP/Disability Savings Plan: Introduced the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), effective 2008.
- RDSP Flexibility: Increased flexibility to access RDSPs for beneficiaries with shortened life expectancies.
- RDSP Guardianship: Allowed parents, spouses, and common-law partners to open RDSPs for an adult individual who might not be able to enter into a contract.
- Allowed RESP to RDSP: Allowed investment income earned in a RESP to be rolled over on a tax-free basis to an RDSP.
- RDSP Limits Increased: Increased the maximum withdrawal limits that apply to certain RDSPs.
- Age Limit Increased: Increased the age limit for maturing Registered Pension Plans (RPPs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) to 71 years of age from 69.
- RRSP Post-death Relief: Introduced tax relief for RRSP post-death losses.
- Northern Resident Deduction: Broadened the northern residents deduction to include the District Municipality of Mackenzie (British Columbia).
- Traveller’s Exemption: First, increased the 48-hour travellers’ exemption from $200 to $400 and then from $400 to $800. Also increased the 24-hour travellers’ exemption from $50 to $200.
- Mineral Exploration Tax Credit: Extended the 15% mineral exploration tax credit to March 31, 2015.
- Tax Free Savings Account: Introduced the Tax-Free Savings Account, effective 2009 up to $5,500 which was increased to $10,000 in 2015 budget (P.233 in 2015)
- GST/HST Disability Exemption: Exempted from GST/HST specially designed training to assist individuals in coping with effects of a disability or disorder and expanded the list to include medical and assistive devices (e.g., service dogs).
- Tax Bracket Increases: Increased upper limit of the first Income Tax bracket from $38,832 to $40,726 in 2008 and $77,665 to $81,452 in 2009.
- Age Credit Increase: Increased the Age Credit amount by $1,000, effective 2009.
- Home Renovation Tax Credit: Introduced the temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit on expenditures in excess of $1,000, but not more than $10,000.
- First-time Buyers Tax Credit: Introduced the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, based on an amount of $5,000.
- Home Buyer’s Plan: Increased the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit to $25,000 from $20,000.
- Universal Child Care Benefit: Increases to the UCCB in 2015 to include children up to age 18. Increased from $100 per month for children under 6 to $160 and $60 a month for children aged 6 to 17.
- Family Income Splitting: Introduced Family Income Splitting tax credit up to $2,000 (Link).
- Seniors Pension Income Splitting: Pension income can now be split between partners up to the allowable amount, approximately $50,000 per annually.
- Child Custody Benefits: Improved the allocation of child benefits between parents who share custody of a child.
- Children’s Art Tax Credit: Introduced the Children’s Arts Tax Credit for up to $500 per child in eligible fees and an additional $500 non-refundable amount for DTC-eligible children.
- Volunteer Firefighter Credit: Introduced a Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit, based on an amount of $3,000 for volunteer firefighters who perform at least 200 service hours.
- Family Caregiver Tax Credit: Introduced a Family Caregiver Tax Credit, based on an amount of $2,000 for caregivers of infirm dependants and removed the $10,000 limit that applies on the amount that caregivers can claim under the Medical Expense Tax Credit on behalf of certain dependants.
- Tuition Tax Credit: Included professional or trade examination fees in the definition of eligible tuition for the Tuition Tax Credit.
- Foreign Student Credit: Reduced the minimum duration requirement that Canadian students studying at foreign universities must meet to claim the Tuition, Education and Textbook Tax Credits or receive Educational Assistance Payments from RESPs.
- Foreign Rental Vehicles: Reduced taxes on foreign-based rental vehicles temporarily imported by Canadian residents, effective June 1, 2012.
- Adoption Tax Credit: Enhanced the Adoption Expense Tax Credit to better recognize the costs of adopting a child — up to $15,000 in 2014.
- Charitable Super Credit: Introduced a charitable donation “Super Credit” in 2014.
Endnote: Just as with my various Harper Government Accomplishment Lists (see here, here and here), this list was put together by an individual (Sandy) who has no connection to the federal government or federal Conservative Party. No doubt, there are tax relief measures I have missed, particularly corporate and those for small businesses. However, in my opinion, 50+ tax relief items are enough for Canadian voters to realize what they would lose if the opposition NDP and Liberals were to gain a foothold on power in Canada with a coalition type arrangement.
Listed here are PDF files on the various annual Conservative federal budgets since the spring of 2006: Budget 2015, Budget 2014, Budget 2013, Budget 2012, Budget 2011, Budget 2010, Budget 2009, Budget 2008, Budget 2007, and Budget 2006.
Here are some of the Harper Government’s accomplishments from May 2011 to the present (January 2015):
- Adoption Expense Tax Credit increased — from a one-time $13,100 to 15,000 in 2014 (Link)
- Advanced International Child & Maternal Health at U.N.— $3.5 billion committed for 2015-2020, building on Muskoka 2010 – 2015 initiative (Link) (Link) (Link)
- Adult “Basic” Education Northern Initiative — announced by PM Harper on Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 2012 in Iqaluit, for Aboriginal people living in the three territories; (Link)
- Aga Khan and PM Harper open Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum — a multicultural partnership dedicated to artistic & intellectual contributions by Muslims (Link)
- Canada Apprentice Loan Program — Up to $4000 for those registered in any Red Seals apprenticeship training (Link)
- Arctic Research Council launched to improve lives for people in the North — for resource development, shipping, marine safety, community infrastructure (Link)
- Benin Foreign Investment & Promotion Protection Agreement (FIPA) — legally binding rights and obligations with respect to investment in effect May 12, 2014 (Link)
- Beyond the Border Agreement with the U.S. — passed in late 2011, on perimeter security co-operation (Link)
- Canada’s Citizenship Act Amendment — to reduce processing time to less than a year and reducing backlog by over 80% (Link)
- Canadian Economy to Outpace Most G7 Countries — by 2015 (Link) (Link)
- Canada/EU Trade Agreement — Although ratification still required by EU countries, `End of Negotiations`Agreement signed on September 26, 2014 (Link)
- Canadian Wheat Board Monopoly Ends — Bill C18 removed the CWB’s monopoly regarding decisions made by many Western farmers to market their wheat (Link)
- China Foreign Investment Deal (FIPA) — while controversial, sets out legal framework to clarify obligations and rights re investment in Canada (Link)
- China and Canada signed 20 commercial agreements — valued more than 2.5 billion in increased trade & job opportunities in Canada (Link)
- Columbia Free Trade Agreement — went into force on August 15th, 2011 (Link)
- Consumer Product Safety Act — came into effect June 20, 2011 to ensure manufacturers do not market dangerous products (Link)
- Corporate Tax Rate — reduced from 18% to 16.5% effective January 2012, with another 1.5% reduction in 2012 to 15% (Link)
- Czech Republic Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA)— went into force January 22nd, 2012 (Link)
- Defibrillators for arenas — equip arenas across Canada with automatic external defibrillators (AED) and training staff on how to use them (Link)
- Devolution of Land & Resources in the NWT — from the federal government to the Government of the Northwest Territories took place on April 1st, 2014. (Link)
- Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement — between Canada, Nunavut and Grand Council of the Crees (Link)
- Employment Insurance Premiums Reduced — although controversial, in the fall of 2014 by 15% for to encourage small businesses to hire (Link)
- Express Entry Immigration into Canada Program — when skilled immigrants to Canada will get quick entry so that they can contribute to economy (Link) (Link)
- Fair Representation Act — Bill C-20 became law on Dec. 16, 2011 and will come into effect for the 2015 federal election (338 seats in total rather than the current 308) (Link)
- Fair Elections Act — although controversial does require Chief Electoral Officer to lay out clear electoral guidelines (Link) (Link)
- Family Caregiver Tax Credit — Bill C-13 established a new $2000 tax credit on December 15, 2011 to help families dealing with challenging medical expenses (Link)
- Family Income Splitting — families with children under 18 will be allowed to split income up to $50,000 with credit capped at $2000.00 (Link)
- Federal Infrastructure Plan — longest long-term plan in Canadian history supporting projects that enhance economic growth, job creation and productivity (Link) (Link)
- First Nations Transparency Act — passed on March 27th, 2013 and requires all First Nations to post financial records and documents on a website as of July 1st, 2014 (Link)
- Forest Market Opportunity Program — supporting innovation and diversification in the forest sector until March 2016 (Link)
- Gas Tax Fund for Municipalities — permanent and predictable funding for communities to support infrastructure projects (Link)
- Gun Registry Scrapped — as the legislation passed Third Reading (Link) (Royal Assent)
- Honduras Free Trade Agreement — completed and signed on November 5th, 2013 and will enter into force on October 1st, 2014 (Link) (Link)
- Human Trafficking National Action Plan Unveiled — to stop such trafficking in June 2012 (Link)
- Immigrant Credentials Eased for More Occupations — thus extending the speed-up process that started in 2012 (Link)
- On-reserve schools grant of $500 million — to be available from investment of $5.8 billion in Infrastructure Fund (Link)
- Jordan Free Trade Agreement — went into force on October 1st, 2012 (Link)
- Kuwait Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA) — went into force February 19, 2014 (Link)
- Latvia Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA) — went into force November 24, 2011 (Link)
- Mega Trials Legislation — Bill C-2 passed at the end of June, 2011 to allow large trials (particularly those involving organized crime) (Link)
- Missing Persons DNA Index — $8.1 million allocated to develop, over 5 years, help matching missing persons to their families (Link)
- National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy — $33 billion dollars in contracts awarded to shipyards in Vancouver and Halifax (Link)
- Panama Free Trade Agreement — went into force on April 1st, 2013 (Link)
- Research Excellence Fund for post-secondary institutions — $1.5 billion competitively available that results in long-term economic advantages for Canada (Link)
- Romania Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA) — went into effect November 23rd, 2011 (Link)
- Safe Streets & Communities Act — passed March June 13, 2012 to protect children and communities against terrorism (Link) (Link)
- Slovak Republic Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA) — went into effect March 14, 2012 (Link)
- Softwood Lumber Agreement with United States, over and above NAFTA — signed on January 23, 2012 & in effect until October 12th, 2015 (Link)
- South Korea Free Trade Agreement Signed on September 22, 2014 — 1st Asia Pacific Agreement with only legislative steps for full implementation (Link)
- Tanzania Government Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA) — went into effect December 9th, 2013 (Link)
- Taxes Have Been Cut for Canadians 160 Times — since the Conservatives took office in 2006 (Link)
- Thailand-Canada Declaration of Intent — a bilateral arrangement on youth exchanges (Link)
- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko invited to speak in House of Commons — indicating PM Harper`s full support of the Ukrainian people (Link)
- Universal Child Care Benefit Enhancement — Effective January 1st, 2015, beginning July 1st, 2015, parents will receive $160.00 per child per month and $100.00 for children aged 6 to 17 (Link)
- Victims Bill of Rights — Bill C-32 passed on June 18th, 2014 — (Link)
- White Collar Crime Act — Bill C-21 was reintroduced after the May 2, 2011 federal election and became law on November 1, 2011 (Link)
See also 100 reasons to vote Conservative on October 18th, 2015, at this link.
Last updated February 10th, 2015.