Since first elected in January 2006, the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper have done a lot that is positive for Canada. Are they perfect? Of course not. But, they are certainly better than the alternative. Below are some 100 examples of policies and legislation, put into place by the Harper Conservatives that, in my opinion, make Canada better than what it was before they were elected.
Adoption Expense Tax Credit increased — from a one-time $13,100 to 15,000 in 2014 (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)
Age of Consent Legislation — raised from 14 to 16 effective May 1, 2008 (Link)
Air India Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry — PM Harper apologizes to the friends and relatives of all those who died in that disaster (Link)
Apology to Native People — by the Government of Canada on June 11, 2008 for residential school abuses (Link)
Arctic All-Season Highway — a 137 kilometer project linking Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean for first time (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)
Boundary Dam at Estevan, Saskatchewan — site of carbon capture coal plant receiving $240 million in federal subsidies (Link)
Canada Apprentice Loan Program — up to $4000 for those registered in any Red Seals apprenticeship training announced in January 2015(Link)
Canada’s Citizenship Act Amendment — to reduce processing time to less than a year and reducing backlog by over 80% (Link)
Canada/EU Trade Agreement — although ratification still required, an `End of Negotiations`Agreement signed on September 26, 2014 (Link)
Canada Student Loan Program expanded — to include shorter-term duration educational programs of at least 34 weeks duration (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)
Child Tax Credit — $2000 for every child under eighteen.
China Foreign Investment Deal (FIPA)— while controversial, sets out legal framework to clarify obligations and rights re investment in Canada (Link)
Chinese Head Tax Apology— by the government on June 22, 2006 (Link) (Link)
Chinese Immigrant Provision — of $20,000 to every individual and/or surviving spouses who paid the head tax plus $24 million towards an “historical recognition program”(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)
Corrupt Regimes Act (C-61) – allows Canada to act upon the request of a foreign state to freeze the assets that their former leaders and members of their entourage, including family members, senior officials and associates, may have placed in Canadian financial institutions (Link)
Czech Republic Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA)— went into force January 22nd, 2012 (Link)
Devolution of Land & Resources in the Northwest Territories — from the federal government to the Government took place on April 1st, 2014 with the legislation receiving Royal Assent on March 25, 2014 (Link) (Link)
Disability Savings Plan — part of the 2007 budget, it was fully implemented in December, 2008 (Link)
Ebola Virus Eradication — Conservative gov’t committed $ 113.4 million to support health & humanitarian efforts in Western Africa (Link)
Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement — between Canada, Nunavut and Grand Council of the Crees (Link)
Employer Caregiver’s Plan — called the CECP, it is an attempt to help employers help employees who have caring responsibilities (Link)
Employment Insurance Premiums Reduced — in the fall of 2014 by 15% for to encourage small businesses to hire (Link)
Exploited Persons Act — legislation that received Royal Assent to protect against drug, organized or prostitution type of crime (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 — requires Chief Electoral Officer to lay out clear electoral guidelines became law on June 19, 2014 (Link) (Link) (Link)
Fairness at the Pumps Act (C-14) – protects Canadian consumers from inaccurate measurements when purchasing gasoline effective August 2014 (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 beginning in 2014 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)
Food Labelling Initiative — to clarify and modernize labelling on food products, including “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” claims (Link)
Forest Market Opportunity Program — supporting innovation and diversification in the forest sector until March 2016 (Link)
Free Trade Agreement — signed on July 2, 2009 — between Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (Link)
Gun Registry Scrapped — as the legislation passed Third Reading (Link) (Royal Assent)
Gender Equity in IndianRegistration — legislation that addresses a court ruling on gender discrimination in the Indian Act (Link)
GIS Improvements — for seniors in 2006, changed to allow for higher earned income — (Link)
GST /HST– Goods & Services Tax Cut — From 7% to 6% and then to 5% (Link)
Haiti’s Debt to Canada Cancelled — on June 25, 2010, at the G8 meeting in Huntsville (Link)
Honduras Free Trade Agreement — completed and signed on November 5th, 2013 and will enter into force on June 19, 2014 (Link) (Link) (Link)
Identity Theft Legislation– (Bill S-4) — received Royal Assent on October 27, 2009 — for obtaining and possessing identity information, trafficking in that information or unlawfully possessing or trafficking in gov’t documents (Link)
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act Amendment (C-35) – to crack down on crooked immigration consultants who exploit prospective immigrants and undermine the integrity of Canada’s immigration system (Link)
Income Splitting for Canadian Seniors — a change to the Income Tax Act for pensioners starting in 2006 (Link)
Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement signed (Link)
Infrastructure “New Building Canada Plan” — $53 Billion to support the renewal and construction of municipal infrastructure (Link) (Link)
International Child & Maternal Health at U.N.– $3.5 billion committed for 2015-2020, building on Muskoka 2010 – 2015 initiative (Link) (Link) (Link)
Internet Spam Protection — signed December 15, 2010 to protect consumers and business from the most harmful and misleading forms of online threats (Link)
Jordan Free Trade Agreement — went into force on October 1st, 2012 (Link)
Kid’s sport tax credit — up to $500 per child (Link)
Kruger Mill Investment in Trois Rivieres, Quebec — Government to provide $15 million towards development of first cellulose filament production facility (Link)
Kuwait Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPA) — went into force February 19, 2014 (Link)
Temporary Foreign Workers Program — reforms made so that Canadians are hired first (Link)
Ukrainian & Eastern European immigrants — Gov’t to distribute $10 million to educate Canadians about the internment in Canadian work camps during WWI (Link)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko invited to speak in House of Commons — indicating PM Harper`s full support of the Ukrainian people (Link)
UN Global Fund contribution for mothers, newborns and young children — $540 million pledged for 2015-2020 by PM Harper and added to the $1.5 billion already promised at the G8 summit in Muskoka and G20 in Toronto, it is the largest contribution ever made by Canada to an international health institution (Link) A further commitment was made in 2014 for the 2015-2020 period for $3.5 billion.
Universal Child Care Benefit — in 2006 $1,200.00 per year for every child under age six (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) (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)
hat tip canadianelection2015.wordpress.com via http://newswatchcanada.ca/
50+ tax relief measures since Canada’s Harper Conservatives came to power
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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 andhere), 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.