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Income splitting unfair

Finally Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks truth to power (Tories revise income-splitting vow, Feb. 14). The notion of income splitting should have been labelled what it is right from the start -- a gift to the wealthy elite who, by and large, are supporters of the Harper Conservatives.

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In most middle-income families today, both spouses work. It's increasingly rare to see stay-at-home moms or dads -- most families simply can't afford to have one of the two stay home.

High-income professionals -- doctors, lawyers, dentists, business execs, and even politicians -- tend to make six-figure salaries, and as a result it's more common for their spouses to stay home full-time. Isn't this where the big tax savings go?

Recent estimates forecast income splitting will do little for the bulk of Canadian taxpayers, with the wealthiest reaping most of the benefits.

Should average Canadians really have to finance winter getaways for the well-to-do?





Tories divide and conquer

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his crew are doing a fine job of vilifying retired civil servants and their "gold-plated pensions" versus the pensions of those in the private sector (Budget gives Tories, Canada new shine, Editorial, Feb. 12). It's a classic move to pit one group against another -- the old divide-and-conquer strategy.

What they don't talk about is their own platinum- and diamond-encrusted pensions. A member of Parliament gets a full pension after only two terms (or six years) of service, not 35 years like most of us.





Education tax divisive

Re: Don't lift school taxes from elderly, Editorial, Feb. 11)

As a senior, I would certainly like to be less taxed whenever possible. But I am certainly not in support of the proposed phased-in tax credit for the elderly.

I think of the burden of saddling others with higher taxes just because they are younger, of the excellent education I received in this province, and of the greater provincial debt that would be passed on to younger folk long after I have shaken off this mortal coil.

I don't have much, but I can limp along on my aching joints and sleep better knowing I am not hurting younger citizens of this province. An education tax credit would not attract a vote from me.






I am an 86-year-old, and have paid education taxes on various dwellings all of my adult life.

I am now retired, still pay taxes, and have lived in modest houses all my life so I would be able to pay these taxes.

I have paid taxes for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and feel it is time seniors get a break from education taxes.

I'd like to enjoy my hard-earned pension. It's up to the younger people to continue paying the education taxes for their own children.





Deficit reduction crucial

As usual, Dan Lett rails against a government budget that moves toward deficit reduction (Focus on deficit reduction comes at tremendous cost, Feb. 12). Lett uses the unemployment bogeyman as one reason why governments need to spend, spend, spend regardless of how much that spending wracks up debt.

Lett should review what has happened in Europe over the last few years. When governments in Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, etc. found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy from runaway spending, unemployment rates skyrocketed.

Lett might also look closer to home. The U.S. federal government finds itself mired in debt, raising its debt ceiling every six months just to keep the government operating. Several U.S cites and states are on the verge of bankruptcy.

North American governments need to get back to balanced budgets. That may cause short-term pain, but balanced budgets are attainable if governments spend prudently and tax realistically.

Saddling our children and grandchildren with a huge debt is not acceptable.





Neutral Senate needed

Kudos to Justin Trudeau for believing second sober thought can only be given by a Senate freed from the pressure of power politics (Trudeau's Senate worst of all options, Feb. 11).

On fiscal issues, the will of the elected party should undoubtedly prevail.

But what about moral issues? Why should these be dominated and debated by the party in power, whose survival instincts tell it to avoid these potentially divisive issues?

A more neutral and liberated Senate could poll and test the wishes of the Canadian people. Referendums could be conducted at election time, with minimal cost.

I hope Justin Trudeau takes the next step in renewing and modernizing our political system.





Send Mennonite kids home

Re: Mennonite kids not home yet, Feb. 12.

Apparently, 36 Mennonite children are still "in care" following a mass apprehension in June 2013. It would have been far less traumatic, and vastly more cost-efficient, if these children had been left in their homes, with social workers working alongside the parents in the community to teach them better parenting skills.

Perhaps it's not too late to lessen the emotional damage by returning the children to their homes right away and working more closely with their parents.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2014 A16

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