Soren­son sees tax grabs in bud­get

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

It was a rau­cous week in Par­lia­ment as the Trudeau gov­ern­ment re­leased its bud­get and also pro­posed changes to the House of Com­mons rules.

The bud­get came down on March 22 and MP for Battle River-Crow­foot, Kevin Soren­son, has some very se­ri­ous con­cerns. One of which is there is no path back to a bal­anced bud­get. This is a con­trast to how the Con­ser­va­tives man­aged a re­ces­sion.

"We in­vested in in­fra­struc­ture and things that would kick start jobs and the econ­omy. But the only way we would do that with deficits is that we would have a strat­egy to come back to bal­anced bud­gets be­cause that is what Cana­di­ans ex­pect,” he said.

“With­out a plan it is so easy to keep spend­ing and that is what this gov­ern­ment is do­ing.”

While many re­ports said the bud­get was in­nocu­ous, he has con­cerns.

“Most of the na­tional me­dia is say­ing it is in­con­se­quen­tial… now we are see­ing them take away more tax cred­its,” said Soren­son. “There were tax cred­its for those us­ing public tran­sit in the past. If you had a bus pass and didn’t drive your car to work in the big ci­ties there was a tax credit. They are adding taxes to Uber, they are tax­ing beer and wine.”

There is re­ally noth­ing in this bud­get for farm­ers, they are start­ing a dis­cus­sion on de­fer­ral of cash sales,” he said.

“They are just look­ing for tax dol­lars, I think they re­al­ize that they just spend so much they have to start hik­ing taxes.”

Some are laud­ing the bud­get. The Pe­tro­leum Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada (PSAC) said it was pleased by a one­time pay­ment of $30 mil­lion to Gov­ern­ment of Al­berta to stim­u­late eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and em­ploy­ment in the re- source sec­tor. PSAC has been ad­vo­cat­ing to de­com­mis­sion or­phan wells, pipe­lines, and fa­cil­i­ties.

Soren­son said other as­pects of the bud­get could hurt the sec­tor.

“They are cut­ting some of the ex­ploratory tax cred­its,” he said. “They are tak­ing that in­cen­tive away for com­pa­nies to go find gas and oil.”

One change in the bud­get that could af­fect Drumheller, ac­cord­ing to Soren­son, be­cause it tar­gets the tour ism sec­tor, is the re­moval of the abil­ity of vis­i­tors to be re­im­bursed for GST they paid while vis­it­ing.

“We want tourists to come to Canada, we know our lo­cal econ­omy thrives when there is an up­take in tourism, and any mea­sure that says that is not im­por­tant is dis­ap­point­ing.”

Even as the busi­ness of bud­get was work­ing its way through, there was just as much ac­tion, if not more, in the Pro­ce­dures and House Af­fairs Com­mit­tee as the op­po­si­tion de­layed a vote on a mo­tion on a study pa­per called Mod­er­a­tion of the Stand­ing Or­ders of the House of Com­mons. Some of the pro­posed changes in­clude chang­ing ques­tion pe­ri­ods and elim­i­nat­ing Fri­day sittings.

“That is the is­sue right now, they are try­ing to shut it down on Fri­day and we are cer­tainly fight­ing that. Peo­ple are calling my of­fice and say­ing ‘don’t tell me you are talk­ing about a four day work week,’” said Soren­son.

He said the battle is hap­pen­ing in com­mit­tee meet­ings, in par­lia­ment and even in pe­ti­tions. Soren­son says the op­po­si­tion is work­ing hard to make sure the is­sue is in front of the peo­ple.

“That’s not how we do it, we do a lot of con­sul­ta­tions with Cana­di­ans and con­stituents. We go around and find out what you think,” he said.

Kevin Soren­son… MP for Battle River -Crow­foot

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