When it came to the environment, Jim Flaherty gaveth. Then he tooketh away.
A year after introducing a clean-car rebate, Flaherty cut it from the budget.
The measure gave a $2,000 tax rebate to people buying a fuel-efficient car.
Now the rebate is gone.
And that is ridiculously shortsighted.
Forget, for a moment, the environmental benefits of a wholesale switch to fuel-efficient cars.
Consider base economics.
Gas prices are spiking. Some expect the cost of gas to hit $1.50 a litre this summer.
And Canadians are going to be hammered.
Of course, that might facilitate a switch to public transit. But people are still going to drive. A lot.
Canadian cities are built around the car. Like it or not, people are conditioned to drive.
And, because of clever automotive marketing, most are driving gigantic fuel hogs.
Today, that’s clearly a problem for many reasons.
It has to change.
A tax benefit, like the clean-car rebate, helped Canadians ditch their SUVs in favour of a Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid or a Smart car.
It helped people make the transition.
It was good for the environment, and the economy.
And it’s staggering that Flaherty nixed it. (RM)
Giving credit for a tax measure
Northerners should cast a nod Dennis Bevington’s way.
The New Democratic Party’s Western Arctic MP has tackled many interesting issues in the last year, but now one of his suggestions got some traction.
Yesterday, in the minority Conservative government’s third budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered the first increase to the northern residents’ deduction in 20 years.
That was Bevington’s baby.
For a few months, Bevington has been petitioning the government to increase the deduction, arguing that inflation has increased by 65 per cent.
He wanted the tax deduction boosted 50 per cent.
Flaherty gave 10.
That means the deduction rises to $16.50 a day, up from $15. It grants residents a tax credit of $6,022.50.
Flaherty is pitching it as a way to draw workers to the North.
“It is long overdue,” said Flaherty, in announcing the measure.
And the guy deserves, er, credit — so give him full kudos, and then multiply that by 0.20. Write the result in northern political campaign box 45b (heh, heh).
After all, Flaherty saw the benefits in the idea, and ran with it.
Or, rather, a fifth of it.
But it was Bevington who put the idea on the map.
Bevington lobbied for it.
Bevington collected the signatures.
And Bevington deserves credit — at least 80 per cent of it. (RM)