I was privileged and honored again to be invited with my fellow candidates to meet Mr. Dion in Calgary on July 4, hear his speech and walk the grounds with him on July 5. A special thanks to Mary Insley and Roland Cotton for accompanying me. Sorry the two others, Pete Fiorino and Christine Rollack who had planned on coming were unable to make it, Pete due to illness and Cristine who had to continue sorting issues following the Canada Day flooding.
The weather was very hot for traveling but just after dropping Mary and Roland at the hotel and I was making my way to Mr. Dion’s hotel to meet with him I experienced an almost traffic-halting thunder-storm. I was lucky I got the only space in front and had to wait in the car for about 15 minutes before it lightened sufficiently to allow me to dash for the hotel lobby.
Mr. Dion was his usual cordial self, listens well and buoyed us with his confident speech on the 'Green Shift'. As the media says, it sure appears as if he has a spring in his step these days. On Saturday morning he sounded even better addressing the sold-out fundraiser breakfast. I wish you could have had the opportunity to meet and hear him. He's so confident about being able to sell the ‘Green Shift’ even to Albertans despite what the Conservative Government would like the public to think. Basically Mr. Dion reiterated the same message as he has everywhere to date and for purposes of clarity I will provide a summary of the basics below.
Mr. Dion had several media sessions in Calgary and while he attended the opening of the Baitun Nur mosque, the largest in Canada, in Calgary we attended a meeting of the ‘Women’s Caucus’. Other MPs, Senators and dignitaries that attended were as follows - Carolyn Bennett, Marina Minna, Mark Holland, Senator Tardif and Janine Krieber.
From there we headed to the Stampede Grounds where we were joined by Mr. Dion again. We visited Indian Village and met Piikani Chief Reg Crowshoe and Indian princesses; and, as pre-arranged as we headed down the fairway Mr. Cotton had his full attention as he outlined plans for Aboriginal Housing and other dreams for Aboriginal and Metis people in Lethbridge. Roland was ecstatic and appreciative for the opportunity. Given the severity of need with respect to Urban Aboriginal challenges and since I had already briefed Mr. Dion on these matters and other issues pertaining to Lethbridge area. I am so pleased that Mr. Cotton was afforded the time and I was happier still to hear Mr. Dion reaffirm again intent with respect to the Kelowna Accord. We all felt our trip was most beneficial and look forward to Mr. Dion assuming responsibility for government at the earliest opportunity.
For the record and to assist in dispelling misconceptions the following is a summary of the basics of Mr. Dion’s and the ‘Liberal Green Shift’/Plan which I totally endorse.
The ISSUE: The Liberal Green Shift/Plan will:
• cut income taxes
• put a price on pollution
• fight poverty, and
• position Canada to be a leader in the 21st century sustainable global economy.
• The Liberal Green Shift is bold, and it is the right thing to do. It is as powerful as it is simple
• We will cut taxes on the things we all want more of, i.e. income, investment and innovation, and
• we will shift taxes to what we all want less of;
o - pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.
• We need to take action for both the environment and the economy.
• Our plan is good for the planet and good for your wallet.
Canada must lead in taking action on the climate change crisis, the greatest ecological threat to ever face humanity.
Canadians deserve a government that will:
• be honest with them and put good ideas on the table
• quickly put a price on pollution that reflects its real costs to us all, and
• bring forward a plan to help Canada succeed in the 21 st -century global economy.
We will be that government.
After two and a half years the Conservatives have done nothing. They have no plan for absolute reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and no plan for the 21st century economy.
The time has come to do what is right – not what is easy – for our environment and for our future.
HOW THE PLAN WORKS
Environmentalists and economists agree that the best way to reduce GHGs (greenhouse gas emissions) is to put a price on carbon. Proponents of a green tax shift cover the ideological spectrum.) They include Professor Jack Mintz, University of Calgary, Professor Mark Jaccard, Simon Fraser University, Conference Board of Canada, environmental leader David Suzuki and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives to name but a few.
• Under the Liberal Green Shift Plan, the government will put a price on fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, starting at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide and rising to $40 per tonne over four years. No new taxes will be levied on gasoline at the pump, since there is already an excise tax in place which equates to $42 per tonne of carbon dioxide. Also, there will be no increase in the price of diesel the first year.
The Liberal plan will shift Canada’s tax system away from income and towards pollution, and in a revenue-neutral way; putting it in law that every dollar that is raised from carbon pollution will be returned to Canadians in tax cuts - credits that will increase individual and corporate disposable income.
Using the revenue generated through carbon pricing, a Liberal government will introduce broad-based and progressive income tax cuts, and implement measures to protect low-income Canadians and those who live in rural and Northern communities from rising energy costs. The shift will entail significant cuts to the first three marginal rates of income tax:
Actual Tax Benefits: – a family earning $20,000 with 2 children will receive a benefit increase of up to $2,400, a family earning $40,000 with 2 children will earn up to $1,900 and similar size family earning $60,000 up to $1,300. They will also receive;
A new, universal child tax benefit worth $350 per child/year, in addition to all existing child benefits;
An $850 increase to the Employment tax credit (from $1000 to $1850) which will also be made fully refundable. The credit will now be phased out at an income level of $50,000 per year;
o An increase to the value of the Working Income Tax Benefit to help low-income Canadians get over the welfare wall;
o Tax incentives for business to encourage investment in green technology and innovation;
o An increase to the Northern Residents Deduction, and indexation going forward; and
o Every rural tax-filer will receive a credit worth $150.
• In addition to the Green Shift, Liberals will offer targeted benefits financed from the existing fiscal framework to help lift low-income Canadians out of poverty, including a $600 increase to the GIS for seniors, and benefits for low-income Canadian families.
• Our plan will also attract businesses to our sustainable, green economy with one of the most competitive tax jurisdictions in the world. We will:
o accelerate and deepen the currently planned corporate tax cuts, reducing the general corporate tax rate by an additional one per cent within four years;
o reduce the small business corporate tax rate by an additional one per cent, to help Canadians to lead the way in the development of new technologies and products for the green economy;
o accelerate capital cost allowance rates for green investments to help spur industry investments in green technologies; and
o make the Science, Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit 25 per cent refundable to spur further innovation in developing the new products that will keep Canada competitive.
• The Liberal Green Plan is integrated and complements other Liberal commitments to green our economy, such as:
o the Renewable Power Production Incentive that will more than double the non-emitting energy sources available to Canadians;
o the $1-billion Advanced Manufacturing and Prosperity (AMP) Fund that will stimulate green manufacturing;
o the major Infrastructure Surplus commitment to upgrade our sustainable infrastructure such as public transit through unanticipated surpluses; and
o complementary regulations and incentives to Canadians for home retrofits, energy efficient appliances and vehicles, low carbon farm and forestry practices and other ways to help Canadians reduce their environmental footprint.
‘The Green Shift’/Plan will be fair to all.
The big winners will be our children and grandchildren who will inherit a cleaner and more sustainable world. “This shift is the most radical plan since the Second World War Effort. It will reform our economy and taxation and at the same time move us from the destructive environmental path we have been on since the industrial revolution”. Let’s remember the “war-effort” increased productivity, modernized our industries and greatly improved our standard of living.
Get ‘the Green Shift’/Plan details at liberal.ca or call Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, (403) 381-7635