It's tax time

This is a reminder that in a little over a month, April 30, most Canadians need to complete and file their 2017 income tax returns to avoid potential late penalties.

There are a few changes this year that may interest you and your family.

For those who file paper returns, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be mailing you a 2017 income tax return package.

If you do not receive one or would like to obtain a paper copy, you can call 1-855-330-3305 to request one be mailed to you.

Also, for those who need help preparing their Income Tax Return, CRA offers Income Tax Clinics for those with modest income and simple tax situations.

Please visit my website, and click on 2018 Income Tax Clinics  for more information.

Some things to bear in mind as you begin the process; there are several former tax credits available in recent years that have been eliminated by the Liberal government.

Here is a list of the tax credit programs that no longer exist:

  • Tuition
  • Education and Textbook
  • Children’s Fitness
  • Children’s Arts
  • Public Transit

Although most of what has often been referred to as “boutique” tax credits were eliminated, the government did introduce a new specialized tax credit that is available for this taxation year.

Called the “Teacher and Early Childhood Educator School Supply” tax credit. it is primarily for teachers when purchasing classroom materials.

There have also been what I believe, largely positive changes to existing credits.

For example, the Canada Caregiver tax credit now streamlines the former Family Caregiver tax credit, and some changes have also been implemented to the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the Medical Expense Tax Credit programs.

Actual income tax rates for the current year remain unchanged from last year.

As some will know, there have been studies to suggest Canadians are paying more in taxes as a result of the elimination of many family focused tax credits.

However, critics of those studies point out that Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program may potentially offset any taxation increases as a result of the elimination of the credits.

Who is correct?

In my view, it depends entirely on the situation.

As an example, someone who takes public transit with no children will be adversely impacted with the loss of the Public Transit tax credit.

However, depending on their income, a family with three young children, who are not active in sports or arts programs, could come out significantly ahead as a result of the enhanced CCB program

My question this week:

  • Do you feel further ahead this year because of these changes or behind? 

Drop me a line and let me know.

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.


PM doesn't deserve credit

Last week, I wrote about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent trip to India and addressed some criticisms that had been levied.

For example, there were allegations the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet are sympathetic to radicalized operatives who support the Khalistan separatist movement in India.

At the time I wrote the report, I defended the Prime Minister and stated I believed Mr. Trudeau had attempted to refute these allegations and stated Canada’s long support for a united India. 

The day after, it was revealed the Prime Minister had a guest invited to an official event who was convicted of an “an act of terrorism” after a failed attempt to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister visiting Vancouver Island in 1986.

The presence of this individual created an international uproar that led to the Prime Minister’s office engaging in damage control.

At one point, Mr. Trudeau’s handpicked national security adviser was put forward in a confidential news conference.

Quoting from a reporter at the news conference, this high ranking national security official was “peddling what must be one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories ever advanced by a Canadian government” suggesting “That the terrorist invited by the Liberals to Mumbai may have been planted there by the Indian government or maybe by Indian security agencies or perhaps by factions in the Indian government.”

Soon after this news conference, the Prime Minister and his office realized the media were not buying this unusual conspiracy, so it was suggested that a lone Liberal MP from British Columbia was responsible for the invite.

The Prime Minister solemnly assured Canadians this MP would receive a stern talking to once back in Canada. 

Subsequently, this MP apologized, took responsibility and resigned as chairman of the BC Pacific Liberal Caucus.

This appeared to be the end of this sad and embarrassing situation until the Prime Minister was asked about the validity of the conspiracy theory in Question Period. 

To the surprise of many, Mr. Trudeau stated, while standing in the House of Commons, that when a national security official says something to Canadians, it's because they know it to be true.

In other words, Mr. Trudeau doubled down and backed the conspiracy theory. 

To date, the Liberal government has provided no evidence to substantiate this serious international accusation.

In an almost unprecedented event, the Indian government issued an official response denying the allegations in their entirety and by extension questioned the credibility of Prime Minister Trudeau.

Since that time, numerous pictures of the convicted terrorist have been circulating that show the individual and Mr. Trudeau together at various points in time.

Serious concerns remain, yet to be answered by Mr. Trudeau or his Public Safety minister, Ralph Goodale.

As a result, the Opposition tabled a motion at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (known as SECU) to meet with Mr. Trudeau’s national security adviser and learn more about this alleged conspiracy theory. 

Unfortunately, the Liberal members of this committee used their majority to block this motion. 

Given that the former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has also cast doubt on Mr. Trudeau’s conspiracy theory, many are deeply concerned over this lack of transparency that directly question the credibility of Prime Minister Trudeau.

My question this week:

  • How do you view the outcome of Mr. Trudeau’s trip to India given these recent developments?

Budget of broken promises

The Liberal government introduced the 2018 budget this week. 

As is customary in Canadian democracy, it is the role of the Liberal government to promote what it views as the merits of their budget.

As the Official Opposition, it is our job to illustrate the concerns we have with the budget.

On that note, I have a few.

It has become clear over this mandate that the Prime Minister excels in making promises, but often falls short on the delivery of said promises.

For example, we were promised:

  • electoral reform
  • a national housing strategy
  • Infrastructure Investment
  • new fighter jets for our military…
  • the list goes on.

This budget is no exception.  

Trudeau distinctly promised Canadians that after a series of small deficits, his government would return to a balanced budget in 2019. 

This budget demonstrates that the Liberals have no intention of returning to balance in 2019. Budget 2018 calls for yet another deficit of $18 billion this year.

Based on the current pace, Trudeau will add $450 billion to Canada’s national debt over the next 27 years. 

Why is this a concern? 

In short: because you and I pay interest on that debt. 

By 2022, it’s estimated that Canadians will be making annual interest payments of $33 billion on that outstanding debt.

To put that number in context, the amount of the annual transfer, that the Government of Canada provides the provinces to deliver health care to Canadians, is currently $36 billion.

Another promise in this budget relates to a National Pharmacare Program, an idea that has long been championed by the NDP. 

What’s interesting is there is no money allocated to pay for a National Pharmacare Program. Rather, the Liberals announced that they will create an advisory panel to further study the idea. This idea has already been studied in Ottawa for close to a decade.

When it came to legalizing marijuana, the Liberals made a commitment to do so by July 1. If the Liberals were serious about creating a National Pharmacare Program, they would have made similar timeline commitment and attached dollars in this budget to make it happen. 

Regarding marijuana legalization, a seldom discussed proposal in this budget is a commitment to spend $546 million over five years to enforce federal pot legislation. This appears to be an admission that the Liberals now realize that illegal marijuana may well be a serious threat to undercutting legal marijuana. 

I mention this because one of the arguments for legalization from Trudeau was that there would be less need for law enforcement.

While the budget proposes to spend $546 million to enforce marijuana legalization, it also proposes to spend less than half of that amount to fight opioid addiction. The budget calls for $231 million to be spent over the next five years to fight the opioid crisis.

That said, it is unclear how this money will be divided up between the provinces and territories.

Things not in the budget? 

For the most part infrastructure, military, daycare, housing affordability and poverty reduction were items that received no significant upgrades or mention. The Liberals promoted this as a gender based budget and in fact used the word “gender” 359 times in a budget document that is 367 pages long.

My question this week:

  • Will this budget do anything to help you or your family? 


Trudeau mis-spoke, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting/vacationing in India, a fact that has drawn some criticism from a variety of different sources.

The first criticism occurred when the Prime Minister arrived in India and many suggested Canada was snubbed because India PM Narendra Modi did not personally welcome the entourage.

Was this an intentional slight and if so, why?

Interestingly, many foreign media sources are reporting the reason is related to allegations that Prime Minister Trudeau and members of his cabinet are sympathetic to radicalized operatives who support the Khalistan separatist movement in India.

It is further alleged that some of these operatives have close Canadian ties.

This is a complicated situation, however, in my view, Prime Minister Trudeau has attempted to refute these allegations and has stated Canada's long support for a united India.

Another announcement that has drawn criticism involved the subject of investment.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that a $1 billion trade deal between Canada and India was reached. This good news, announcement immediately drew headlines throughout Canadian media.

Critics and those knowledgeable in this area immediately, cast doubt and challenged the validity of this claim.

Eventually, it would be revealed that the trade deal is actually $750 million of investment leaving Canada for India with $250 million coming back to Canada in return.

In other words, this is a $500-million trade deficit for Canada.

As a result, the Prime Minister's office was forced to issue a correction that the Prime Minister mis-spoke on the announcement.

My question this week:

  • Are you in favour of Canada pursuing a free-trade agreement with India?

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

MP Dan’s parliamentary record includes being recognized by the Ottawa Citizen in 2015 as one of five members of Parliament with a 100 per cent voting attendance record. 

Locally in British Columbia, MP Dan Albas has been consistently one of the lowest spending members of Parliament, on office and administration related costs, despite operating two offices to better serve local constituent.

MP Dan Albas is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

In October 2015, MP Dan Albas was re-elected to Parliament representing the new riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. Dan is currently the shadow minister for small business and sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern.  

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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