Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 3 - A little less coalition, a little more on the issues please

Day 3 is winding down in Election 2011 (#elxn41 for those in the Twitterverse), and it seems that the issues are slowly starting to make an appearance. Yes, Mr. Harper is still referencing the coalition frequently in his remarks. However, with the Conservative's announcement of their income splitting initiative we saw debate on a matter of policy. Cue the applause.

This is an interesting, and potentially expensive proposal. Allowing families to shift income from higher to lower earners offers the potential for a family to lower their overall tax burden. So far, so good right?

Yes, but there is some fine print:

- proposal would not be implemented until 2015-2016, once the deficit has been eliminated (and potentially after the mandate we are currently being implored to provide has passed).

- proposal would favour families with only one earner and those which currently have one earner in a higher tax bracket.

- proposal would not apply to single-parent families.

These limitations do not necessarily make this a bad idea. What they do is open up a topic for discussion. Let's hear your thoughts!

1. What are your views on the idea of income splitting?
2. To whom should it apply?
3. By when and under what conditions?

Share your comments, start a dialogue...

As an aside, for those of you who have not read Susan Delacourt's blog lately, please do so ( In commenting on social media and good humour shared among those covering elections, she noted that those of us who close our eyes and jump in will get to share in this humour. Today was a great example, as comments on the 2015-2016 start date for this proposal flooded Twitter (thanks in particular to @scottfeschuk).

So with that, a little less coalition, a little more on the issues please.



  1. Maybe it's too early in the morning for me, but could you explain these two points:

    - proposal would favour families with only one earner and those which currently have one earner in a higher tax bracket.

    - proposal would not apply to single-income families.

    What's the difference between 'only on earner' and single-income. To me they are the same, but I'm far from understanding the intricacies of the tax system. My eyes glaze over whenever anyone talks about finances.

    Besides that I have a few obvious problems with this proposal:

    1. It is not targetted to help those who need assistance the most: Single parents. That said, I never expected Harper to care much about that anyway. Being from Newfoundland, I heard at great length how he feels about a so-called 'welfare nation'.

    2. It doesn't sit well with me that he is asking families to wait until the books are balanced, but is willing to give tax breaks to companies right now. I get that it's an ideological stance from the right to give relief to those who essentially provide jobs in this country. But you're essentially giving money to organizations whose only purpose is to make money. Until a company's employees are seen as being more important than a company's bottom line I'll continue to have a problem with this Conservative perspective.

    3. The start date of 2015/16. I think it's a ploy (and a miscalculated one) to get a majority, because that's the only way he will be in power long enough to implement it. I think it's asking an awful lot of even right leaning voters. I'm really surprised they would sell this during the election campaign. I don't quite see the benefit in swaying voters.


  2. Thanks for your comments, Kendall.

    First, apologies for the confusing text. It should have read "single familes" - one of the perils of night time blogging is the occasional typo or misstep!

    Points 1 and 2 from your note are pretty consistent with the other parties' criticism of the proposal. I think your third point is interesting.

    I am not sure if they are saying "give us a majority and you'll get this." I agree that would be risky. What I think they are trying to say is "we won't spend until we can afford to, and anyone who would do otherwise is irresponsible." It fits with their stewardship of the economy theme. We'll see how that plays out once we see costed platforms from the parties.

    Again, thanks for the comments and keep them coming!

  3. Thanks for explaining! I thought that's what you meant, but I secretly feel in over my head when it comes to tax/financial specifics so just thought I'd ask.

    I get what you're saying about point #3, I'm not sure I fully agree with my reasoning either, just an initial thought. But my question, if they stand by not spending until they can afford it, would be: can we afford corporate tax cuts at the moment? Hypocrisy?



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