Friday, March 07, 2008

When is a money bill not a money bill?

In my opinion, the Speaker pushed the limits of non-partisanship yesterday when he ruled that Dan McTeague's RESP bill which now heads to the Liberal-dominated Senate, "technically did not include a measure that would result in the government spending money." (H/T National Newswatch)

This could jeopardize the Finance Minister's attempt to not enter a deficit situation.

...Ted Menzies, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, lashed out at the proposal and suggested Mr. McTeague explain how the government will pay for it. In addition to costing the federal government $900-million, the provinces would also be out $450-million if the plan goes through, he said.

"This is ridiculous. It is irresponsible and uncosted and comes one day after the Liberals supported our budget. If it would have been a good thing for Canadians and we felt it was the right thing to do, we would have done it in our budget," Mr. Menzies said...



The Globe reports that "Liberal MP Garth Turner said the government wouldn't like Mr. McTeague's proposal because families would choose the immediate tax breaks over Mr. Flaherty's proposed tax-free savings account, the centrepiece of last month's budget, which is only for after-tax income."

In very sophisticated, Parliamentary language, Mr. Turner declared: “It beats the poop out of it.”


Time for an election. We need a majority government in Canada.


* * * *
Update: COTM - Whose fault Liberal "money" bill passes?

On CBC's Politics, an expert from C.D. Howe said that this education bill is tax overkill.

Finn Poschmann calls it an untenable situation and said that the real issue is that it is an abuse of Parliamentary procedure.

He said that Dan McTeague's RESP Bill could cost 900 Million a year!!


Poschmann said that the fact this money bill got passed without the approval of the government, shows that it does not have the confidence of the opposition parties.

ELECTION TIME!!!!


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need a majority government in Canada.

Don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

The Tories need to allow the government to be defeated. They need to place faith in the people of Canada who over-whelmingly believe that Harper is the better man to lead the country and that this government is on the right track.
NeilD

Raphael Alexander said...

I don't really care how this bill came along, but I'm glad it did. If the Tories oppose this bill, as far as I am concerned they are opposing people like me. I will find it very difficult to continue supporting the Conservative party if they continue to spend heedlessly on irrelevant programs, and then oppose bills which help working families. There is no conscionable way to object to this RESP plan without coming off smelling like garbage.

I support this RESP bill 100%. It's one more way to invest in the future of Canada without the taxman getting it's grubby mitts on my money I've set aside for my children.

Lore_Weaver said...

Raph, would you support it next year instead?

Before this was even conceived, you were still supporting the government. If it gets kiboshed, nothing has changed.

I agree it's a great tax measure, but is it worth deficit spending for? I'd rather deficit spend to stay out of recession (if it deficit spending was required).

Why not talk to your local MP about implementing this in the context of a 2009 budget, or as part of the "fiscal update" next fall?

Now that the idea is out there, the government can't ignore it forever.

Platty said...

I will find it very difficult to continue supporting the Conservative party if they continue to spend heedlessly on irrelevant programs..

Does this mean that you would then support the Liberals Raphael?

Are you saying that if the Conservatives oppose this bill, then you will switch your support to the Liberals, that they will do more for the future of your children because of one bill?

==

Anonymous said...

Why not just give all Canadian parents a $5,000 voucher to spend on the schools/education of their choice, starting with elementary?

If you're ok with education tax incentives man, you've got to love vouchers, and tax credits....no?

Alberta Girl said...

"I will find it very difficult to continue supporting the Conservative party if they continue to spend heedlessly on irrelevant programs, and then oppose bills which help working families."

HMmmm RA - I would say given the MANY posts you have done criticizing the government, I would say that you have already made up your mind.

As I said on your blog this morning...the Liberals are not the goverment,they have no right to screw with the budget that the goverment put into place-AFTER THE FACT. I say it should have been a confidence motion because it contained money, the fact it wasn't really shows the partsianship of the otherwise good speaker.

I would suggest that that is what the Tories are upset about, the fact that a money bill was passed as a non-confidence motion.

It is pretty clear the Libs are daring the PM to call an election because they are too Freakin scared to do it themselves.

Besides - aren't RESP's already tax deductible up to $2000.

Raphael Alexander said...

Does this mean that you would then support the Liberals Raphael?

No. But I support them on this bill.

Are you saying that if the Conservatives oppose this bill, then you will switch your support to the Liberals

No. I said I will find it difficult to support a party which doesn't support me or my values.

Raphael Alexander said...

Alberta Girl, don't blame me because I actually have independent thoughts other than what the Conservatives tell me is good for me. I KNOW what is good for me and my family. And I know when families are being played with for partisan politics. A pox on both parties for making this an issue.

kursk said...

So RA, you're happy that for the sake of your children, you (in part) are prepared to cost Canadian taxpayers $1.3 billion dollars a year in uncosted monies?

This PMB is highly irresponsible, and should have been treated as any money bill, as a matter of confidence.

Nice to see the Liberals still spending taxpayers dollars for them, even when not in power.

Steve Sorge said...

If the Tories put forth a technical amendment to this PMB from Liberal MP Dan McTeague as I understand they will, how will Stephane Dion vote?

The vote will be a matter of confidence.

Will Dion support his MP and vote for the bill with the Tories' amendment and trigger an election, or not support his MP and vote against McTeague's bill in order to avoid an election?

Gabby in QC said...

"I will find it very difficult to continue supporting the Conservative party ..."

RA, why don't you just drop the pretence of calling yourself a "Conservative"?

Between you and another person who often posts here and who was adamant in saying over and over "I am not a Liberal", look, if you're a liberal, admit it!
What's the matter, are you ashamed of it?

And re: RESPs. The government already tops up the parents'/relatives' contributions by 20%, so that on $2500, the plan gets an extra $500.
The lifetime contribution per child has also been raised to $50000, if memory serves.

So what else do you want?
Money handed to you on a silver platter?
That is definitely NOT the conservative way, my friend.
Take off the mask!

Anonymous said...

Raphael...
You just proved yourself to be a Liberal, although it has been obvious for awhile.
A Liberal will bring down a government over one bill that is good for HIM, never mind what is good for the country.
Not that there is anything wrong with being selfish. Just try not to pretend to be a 'concerned' Conservative.

Gabby in QC said...

"I said I will find it difficult to support a party which doesn't support me ..."

RA, you're taking that "support" a little too literally.

See, it works this way: people work to support themselves, they pay taxes for certain specific government services, and to help those who cannot help themselves.
THAT is the conservative way.

Are you sure you're not standing in for Freddie the Freeloader?

Raphael Alexander said...

So RA, you're happy that for the sake of your children, you (in part) are prepared to cost Canadian taxpayers $1.3 billion dollars a year in uncosted monies?

Kursk, it's not my fault the government has increased expenditures by 14.5% since taking power from the Martin Liberals.

It's not my fault that the government wasted $10.2 billion all on the debt and left themselves no room for contingency.

It's not my fault we're the highest taxed industrialized nation outside of Socialist Scandanavia.

This is a tax break, and because of your partisan bias, you are blind to it.

This PMB is highly irresponsible, and should have been treated as any money bill, as a matter of confidence.

So the government can reintroduce a confidence motion on it. Stop whining because democracy works.

Nice to see the Liberals still spending taxpayers dollars for them, even when not in power.

Nonsense. This government is less conservative than any before it.

Raphael Alexander said...

RA, why don't you just drop the pretence of calling yourself a "Conservative"?

Definitions are meaningless anyway. But I'm not a "liberal". In order, I would support the Tories, Greens, and NDP before the Liberals.

And re: RESPs. The government already tops up the parents'/relatives' contributions by 20%, so that on $2500, the plan gets an extra $500.
The lifetime contribution per child has also been raised to $50000, if memory serves.


So then remove the subsidy. What's the big deal?

Speaking of taking off the mask, why are you so adamant on hurting working families in Canada? Is it "conservative" to hurt working families?

The Liberals try to offer a tax cut to Canadians, and the partisan hacks try to defend the Cons because they got caught with their pants around their ankles. It's p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Personally, I don't disagree with Raphael as to the possible value of the concept itself.

What I strongly object to is that the opposition are trying to govern here. I believe that Canada elected a Conservative government, albeit a minority.

We really need an election to clear the air. This Parliament has become dysfunctional.

Let the Liberals put this out as policy in an election. But what they're doing here is absurd.

Gabby in QC said...

"why are you so adamant on hurting working families in Canada? Is it "conservative" to hurt working families?"
Oh, please!
That old saw about "hurting families"!
Now you're sounding like an NDPer.

The usual criticism of RRSPs has always been that only the "rich" can get one started.

With RESPs, the same accusation has been levelled by the usual suspects, anti-conservatives.
And to make their accusations stick, they pull on heart-strings and bring out the violins: the sick! the old! the children!

Can't you get it through your head that everybody in a society has to pull whatever weight they can pull, Freddie?

Raphael Alexander said...

That old saw about "hurting families"!
Now you're sounding like an NDPer.


You expected more civility from someone you're trying to pigeonhole into a "definition" based on one issue?

Can't you get it through your head that everybody in a society has to pull whatever weight they can pull, Freddie?

Can't you get it into your head that we're overtaxed, the Conservatives have outspent the Liberals, and that you're criticizing a man for being too liberal when he wants to implement "tax cuts"?

You're not making any sense.

Alberta Girl said...

"It's not my fault that the government wasted $10.2 billion all on the debt and left themselves no room for contingency."

It is called a B-U-D-G-E-T and they made sure they could A-F-F-O-R-D the debt payment.

When parties not in government start "spending" money, it throws the whole process into jeprody.

Besides RA - there is no way that we can afford to even put money into RRSP's let along RESP's. So just because it is "good" for you, doesn't mean it is"good" for the majority of Canadians.

This truly is a "good for the rich" tax scheme.

The fact that you support a non-governing party playing havoc with a budget a mere week after it was supported by that very party boggles my mind. If they had wanted this in the budget, why did they not put it in an amendment last week.

Oh, right - because it would have triggered an ELECTION that they are to Freakin scared to have.

Ruth said...

Somebody do the math here. Are the families not better off with the subsidy than the one-time tax deduction. I don't know enough about RESP's.
In the end though, it is the finance minister that sets the budget and doles out the money.

Gabby in QC said...

"you're criticizing a man for being too liberal when he wants to implement "tax cuts"?"

Holy moley!
Your logic is baffling. Sure, tax cuts for you, maybe, if you have children.
What about all those who don't have children?
What about all those single young people just starting a job?
What about all those senior citizens whose children don't qualify for RESPs?

As for civility, who said anything about it? "That old saw" has nothing to do with civility, nor is it an offensive phrase.
What, did I offend your tender sensibilities because I said you pretend to be a conservative?

And as for the Conservatives overspending, if they were to cut all the wasteful programs put in place by the Liberals that made Canadians more dependent on the government rather than on their own personal enterprise, there would probably be riots in the streets.

Anyway, a big part of what you call 'overspending' is in fact repaying the debt.
Is that what you would like for your children? You reap the tax breaks now but you leave your children a huge debt load. Nice legacy, eh?

Raphael Alexander said...

Gabby, with all due respect, you're reaching a level of in coherence.

You reject a tax cut for families in RESP contributions because it's not communistic enough for you? And that makes me a liberal?

And as for the Conservatives overspending, if they were to cut all the wasteful programs put in place by the Liberals that made Canadians more dependent on the government rather than on their own personal enterprise, there would probably be riots in the streets.

Right. Because it's more important to prop up the party, than criticize it for overspending.

You reap the tax breaks now but you leave your children a huge debt load. Nice legacy, eh?

No. I am provided more incentive to contribute more money to RESPs so my children go to University, borrow less money from banks, cost the government less money in the future, and contribute as taxpayers that much sooner.

Your argument would fail the first basis of merit if you put it toward any non-partisan economist. And I do encourage you to do so, rather than stand here and argue I'm a liberal.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Raphael and Gabby, I'm not going to take sides here. Just asking that when you're done you both shake hands and be friends. I love you both. ;)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

A financial spokesman on CTV says that this PMB will benefit high income households the most.

He suggested that a better way to help lower income families would be through grants, etc.

Alberta Girl (aka Donna) said...

"He suggested that a better way to help lower income families would be through grants, etc."

Absolutely it is - or make the student loan system easy to get for everyone and anyone who wants one and tie payback to the student's income tax once they have graduated. Back in my day, student loans were low interest and then the government sent them to the banks to administer - now one has to mortgage their education, if you can even get one.

Gabby in QC said...

Ralph, I'm afraid you're again demonstrating liberal tendencies.
If you can't win the argument with any kind of consistency, then:
1. feign offense as in "I AM NOT A LIBERAL!"
2. attack the person, who according to you is "reaching a level of in coherence"
Because I refuse to follow the liberal diktats? Oooh, should I expect to be thrown into an asylum for not agreeing with you?

Well, actually, if I'm reaching a level of
"in coherence" (sic) I must thank you for the compliment, because that means I've presented my arguments in complete "coherence"!

And, what you call "communistic" I call fairness.

The Conservatives ran on a platform of lowering taxes FOR ALL the people who work hard and pay their taxes.
I am one of those people.
I already contribute with my taxes to plenty of programs I never have, nor ever will benefit from.
This would be another such program.

It was introduced not to benefit Canadians, but as a show of one-upmanship to embarrass the Conservatives.
If they thought the tax break was so important, why didn't the Liberals introduce it when they had majorities, between '97 and 2004 when the government was flush with cash?

And yes, I am not ashamed to support most of the policies of the Conservatives. Call that being a partisan prop, if you want.
At least I'm willing to admit I'm partisan, I show my true (blue) colours, "j'assume."

Well, as Joanne suggested, it's time to wrap this up and shake hands.
Even if it's with a liberal adversary :-)

Raphael Alexander said...

Well, as Joanne suggested, it's time to wrap this up and shake hands.
Even if it's with a liberal adversary :-)


No problem, lol, I don't mind shaking hands.

Möbius said...

RESP's already give a 20% grant from the feds, plus what you make from the investment.

When it's withdrawn, it's taxed in the hands of the student, so no tax paid there, most of the time.

So, it's effectively paid for with after-tax dollars, and pays 20+% interest, untaxed. If the Libs want to call an election on that, I say go ahead.

Möbius said...

Somebody do the math here. Are the families not better off with the subsidy than the one-time tax deduction.

For most, the answer is yes. For those making lower incomes, and paying lower marginal tax rates, the subsidy is much more useful.

Joe said...

For all the greedy gimmes out there, this is a poor policy and even worse in the way it came about. It is the old divide and conquer politics at its worst. A few individuals who have the extra cash kicking around will think they are getting something for nothing but most Canadians will not benefit at all from this bit of nonsense. In fact the small amount of money the person saves if they avail themselves of this program will only serve to subsidize the education industry. Which is already way too over subsidized.

Hi my name is Joe and I have a Phd in Philosophy. Would you like fries with your order?

Anonymous said...

Raphael,this talk is just the way Liberals talk.A form of blackmail.Support this bill or else .Well go support the Libs then,we dont need blackmailing turncoats in the Conservative party.

Cool Blue said...

It will actually cost more than $900 million which is just the federal side. (TD Bank is predicting that it could cost $2 billion).

Keep in mind that many provinces calculate their income tax as a percentage of federal tax. Therefore, any reduction in federal tax is also a reduction in provicial tax. TD Bank predicts it would cost the provinces around another $400 million.