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Stephen Harper’s Canada

April 2, 2011

In his campaigns for the 2004, and later his successful 2006 election, Stephen Harper told us that he would change Canada.  Upon his victory, he stated “Tonight, friends, our great country has voted for change”.  Well Mr. Harper, this sure is not the Canada that I wanted; but I’ll go into my own views later.  First I want to examine a few of Stephen Harper’s promises for a new Canada, and how he has followed through.  It would be very hard to argue that he hasn’t been doing what he had set out to do, in fact Stephen Harper is an extremely skilled Prime Minister, however his policies simply do not benefit everyday Canadians.

Upon becoming Prime Minister, Stephen Harper said that he would, to name a few:

Stephen Joseph Harper

  • Cut taxes
  • Renew stronger relationships with the United States
  • Cut down on wait times for health care
  • Rebuild the armed forces

I won’t get into all of them, as I’m sure you have better things to do but let me address a few of these issues.

I think taxes are very important and I will tell you why.  Personal income tax rates in Canada are very low, and as a result we’ve all had more money in our pockets.  Currently our top tax bracket consists of those who earn over $130,000/year, and are taxed 29%.  In the United States, earners that make over $200,00/year are taxed at 33$.  If in Canada we were to adopt a 32% tax rate and apply it to earners making over $250,000/year (0.8% of Canadians), we would raise 2.06billion dollars.  Furthermore, a 35% tax rate on those making over $750,000/year (0.1% of Canadians) would result in an additional 1.2billion dollars.

So by taxing the wealthy at a rate less than they would be taxed in America, and by taxing the mega-rich a little more, we would raise annually another 3.26billion dollars a year.  I’m getting to something here.

Alongside personal tax cuts, corporate tax rates have gone from 22% in the 2007, to 16.5%, giving Canada the lowest corporate tax rates in the G-7.  However let’s look at the fact that business investment is not up, productivity growth has not changed, and full time jobs have decreased.  By re-instating corporate tax rates to 21%, the Canadian government will generate 5.4billion dollars.  This has cost the Canadian Government billions of dollars that could have been used to fund our health care system.  Ask any Canadian about the wait times in our health care system, and they will tell you how pathetic it is.  The only way to get served in a hospital, is if you’re in the process of dying.

What I’m saying is that with this 8.66billion dollars, instead of buying fighter jets, building prisons, increasing military spending, and paying for the ads of Stephen Harper’s economic action plan, we could have been reduced post-secondary tuition in half, provided affordable universal child care so single parents can have the opportunity to get out of poverty.  With 8.66 billion dollars, we could invest in securing futures, rather than occupying sovereign land abroad and bombing civilians.

I hope you like them, because they cost taxpayers 9billion dollars.

Lastly I need to discuss Stephen Harper’s addiction to guns.  In 2009, Canada spent 20.5billion dollars on our military, and as part of Harper’s First Defence Strategy, the budget has increased 0.6% annually (and is projected to continue to do so for the next 20 years).  What does this mean for Canadians?  It means not only will the Canadian government have less money as a result of our lower taxes, but an increased amount of our smaller budget will go towards the military at the expense of social programs.

Current Election Proposals

Income splitting:
The fact of the matter is, income splitting simply does not support the average Canadian.  Who does it support?  It supports men with high incomes.  Firstly, the reason I made the emphasis on men, comes from the fact that by supporting income-splitting we support the status quo, wherein firstly we have to take into consideration that women statistically earn 21% less than men.  Furthermore, given that women do work and make similar incomes as their husbands, they will receive no benefits as they are already on the same tax bracket.  Only households in which women who make considerably less, or do not work, will benefit from the carry over of incomes.  This promotes a nuclear family that undermines the very rights of women.

Secondly, this does not benefit the average Canadian.  Given that most Canadians live in families with two or more earners, which 18.7 million Canadians do, the disparity between the incomes of spouses must be very large in order to attain any benefits.  This does not help single parents, unattached individuals, and low-income households (who are already in a low or the lowest tax bracket and receive no benefit from splitting).  All this promise does, is gives tax breaks to the rich.  A single-earner family that makes $230,000 a year would receive an extra $9000.  Lastly the savings of the rich would cost the government $5billion dollars a year that they could be otherwise spending on our deteriorating healthcare system for starters.

This is not the Canada any of us should want to live in.  Where our government would rather occupy a foreign country to impose our ideals on them, to protect them a group that our closest allies trained and funded in the 1990s, than help our fellow Canadians live a decent life.  As income inequality in Canada is as high as it was during the Great Depression, Harper’s Conservatives do nothing to address our failing healthcare system, the skyrocketing price of an education, and the 300,000 Canadians that go homeless every year.  This is Canada, and this is unacceptable.

Related Links:

CCPA Alternative Federal Budget

Contemplating the Unthinkable Harper Majority

Canada watches it democracy erode


From → Canada

  1. Ev Carefoot permalink

    Well helllo MAtthew,

    My daughter Hannah showed me your website and although I am not a Mr. Harper fan your comments I started to read (not thoroughly) about TFSA need some education. As a younf earner you should be contrubuting to a TFSA not an RRSP since there is not a huge advantage to young earner to use an RRSP and to take advantage of the TFSA.

    Anyway, my 2 cents worth…

    Hannah’s dad (just wanted to embarass her as we sit watvching the hockey game!)

    • Thanks for being my first comment!

      I actually don’t have enough money to put in both RRSPs and a TFSA, so I only put my money into the TFSA. The post was more pointing at the structural disadvantage that many Canadians are at, as the median income of Canadians is, and thus 50% of Canadians make less than, $26,000. Though I benefit from policies like the TFSA, if I am privileged to do so at the expense of so many Canadians that don’t, I don’t think expanding the contribution limit is a step in the right direction.

      Thanks again for your input!

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