Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Turn

By Global Tax Weekly

Another day, another tax cut pledge from one of Canada’s major political parties. There must be a general election round the corner! And indeed there is, on October 19, when voters go to the polls to elect members to the House of Commons. This time it was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s turn, with the Conservative Government promising a substantial cut in Canada’s payroll tax if re-elected. This followed hot on the heels of Harper’s proposal to extend and expand the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit which is designed to encourage investment in Canada’s vital natural resources industry. In fact, the Prime Minister has been quite busy thinking up ways to tempt the electorate to voting for him again. In the past month or so, he has promised to: increase the scope of a tax break helping first-time buyers onto the property ladder; introduce a new home renovation tax credit; increase the value of the tax credit designed to reduce the costs associated with the child adoption process; reward givers to charity under the charitable donations tax credit; and not tax subscriptions to Netflix and similar digital download services. Meanwhile, the opposition Liberal Party has been more direct, pledging to cut income tax for middle-income earners (that strata of voters who so often decide elections) and create a new child benefit scheme. The New Democratic Party’s latest proposal, to introduce an innovation tax credit to support cutting-edge private sector research perhaps makes more economic sense, if not electoral sense. Yet, ironically, if they maintain their slender lead in the polls until election day, the NDP could be voted into government for the first time in the party’s history. Perhaps the message here is that us voters can sometimes see the bigger picture, and don’t always feel the need to be bribed by power-hungry politicians!

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