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This article was published 25/7/2019 (814 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
While it’s been said the only inevitable things in life are death and taxes, Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives are promising to separate the two.
PC Leader Brian Pallister pledged to eliminate probate fees on estates and the PST from the preparation of wills during his party’s third pre-election announcement.
"We are putting an end to years of NDP death taxes — because that’s really what a probate fee is — saving Manitoba families an estimated $11 million every year," Pallister said in front of the Law Courts Building Thursday.
"These are important changes and they’re not just about saving families money either. We’ve all had to deal with the loss of a loved one. It is always a difficult time and it can be heartbreaking. People are grieving. The last thing they should be concerned about is giving more of their family’s hard-earned money to government."
In 2005, the NDP increased probate fees, which affect about 3,500 families in Manitoba per year, according to the Progressive Conservatives. Pallister called the move a "cash grab" that has to go.
"We’re going to eliminate it once and for all and that will allow more money from the estates of deceased Manitobans to stay… with their families," he said.
More than half of Manitobans haven’t prepared their own wills either, the PCs said.
Pallister said he hopes eliminating the PST on the cost of preparing a will can encourage more Manitobans to do so.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew said more education and outreach is necessary to help people with their wills.
"I think it’s just a situation where perhaps there was a lack of awareness on their parts. So if Mr. Pallister wants to make progress there, perhaps the government can find ways to reach out to people and increase education and awareness around planning for the end of life," he said.
Kinew also encouraged Pallister to explain what government services he would cut to afford proposed tax relief.
"At a certain point, as these promises that the Pallister government is making add up — I think at this point we’re in the $50-million neighbourhood — he’s going to have to tell us which health-care services he plans to cut to pay for these services," he said.
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont suggested the PCs’ latest tax cut suggestion is intended to benefit the rich.
"I think because basically, the larger the inheritance, the bigger the probate (fee). This is basically cutting a cheque to some of the wealthiest people in Manitoba, which is a concern," he said.
"This is an example of yet another boutique tax cut that most Manitobans won’t benefit from."
This was the third tax relief idea the Tories have floated in the pre-election campaign, after eliminating PST on home insurance and on personal care services, like haircuts and manicures.
Pallister acknowledged his party will unveil more tax-cut proposals in the weeks ahead, but not as many as he wants.
"We can’t lower taxes as much as I would like and at the same time move to balance. We’re trying to do a balanced approach and move to a balanced budget in a reasonable time frame," he said.
"At the same time, we recognize many Manitoba families are struggling and they need to have a little bit of a break. They need to have a little bit more money to help them find the security and prosperity in their lives they deserve to find."
Manitobans head to the polls Sept. 10.