“But nothing for the parents of fat, lazy, tone-deaf and untalented kids”


Harper’s curious brand of conservatism heads inexorably towards its obvious conclusion:

Canwest News Service
OTTAWA — Stephen Harper promised $380-million worth of tax credits Monday for parents with young children. The Conservative leader said that, if re-elected, his government would give a new tax break for children enrolled in arts activities and would extend tax credits for children’s sports programs and for programs that help families save for a child’s post-secondary education.

A new Children’s Arts Tax Credit would allow families to deduct up to $500 per year for the cost of enrolling in arts programs from one parent’s taxable income.

Filed under:

“But nothing for the parents of fat, lazy, tone-deaf and untalented kids”

  1. hey, there must be some support for journalism coming from the Tories…

  2. Does that get included in the arts funding ‘increase’?

  3. “monumental idiocy” tag? Andrew, could you elaborate more please?

    Harpers so called “anti culture crusade” has never been about that, it’s been about removing subsidies for taxpayer funded junkets around the world for people who don’t need the help.

    This is the same kind of policy he’s trotted out that won him the last election and has him well on the way to winning this one, and tries to dispel the idea that he’s anti-arts; he’s just moving the money from the elites to the soccer moms.

    I think this will be a winner for him. I guess we’ll see.

  4. Call it an exchange of rent-seekers.

    Move the money from artsy types who’ll never vote Conservative to suburban parents who just might.

    Drives principled conservatives nuts, but there it is.

  5. “monumental idiocy” tag? Andrew, could you elaborate more please?

    Are you serious? I suppose I could type it again, but us all caps. Otherwise, not sure what to say. Some things are so obviously stupid…

  6. What’s stupid about making it cheaper for parents to enroll their kids in arts programs? I don’t really get your point either. Harper’s described this as one of his four policy principles: “creating new opportunities and choices for people”.

  7. Sounds like Harper got Thaler/Sunstein’s book Nudge for Christmas but didn’t realize paternal libertarianism is a fancy expression for socialism.

  8. I agree with Style. You can dicker about whether this is a good use of tax credits and whether this is just a creepy kind of paternalism, but “monumental stupidity” it is not. Little things like this do actually stick with people, and getting a little cash back on your taxes is never going to turn voters off.

  9. So do I file my daughter’s Rhythmic Gymnastic fees under Sports or Arts?

  10. Tax credits are great, if you have enough income to pay taxes on in the first place.

    I love how the Conservatives are allergic to national programs that smell of socialism, but have no problems frittering away tax dollars in these sorts of tiny chunks that are ultimately impossible to audit (anyone able to provide me with evidence on how the $100 per kid has benefitted day care?).

  11. Sean – these fit in quite well with Harper’s philosophy, which is to give the money to individuals to spend rather than to institutions to dispense but I would rather see him just cut income taxes across the board than this selective drip-drip, since the selection that he makes will also create some potential losers as well as winners.

  12. John G, I thought Andrew was being ironic. Weren’t you Andrew? Weren’t you?

    jwl, “paternal libertarianism is a fancy expression for socialism” is go-o-o-d, real good. Now you get to define maternal libertarianism. How about hermaphrodite conservative? That would give a whole new meaning to “go f**k yourself” wouldn’t it? Not you jwl, the phrase. I really like your musings.

  13. I’ll bet this was whipped up at the last instant to cover for his monumental f**k-up on arts funding last week. We’ll see if it works, especially in Quebec where it seems to have caused the most damage.

  14. The full story is even scarier tahn Andrew lets on. Turns out it’s a refundable tax credit – so it’s not just a break on your taxes, anyone who files a tax return can get the money. Then, chillingly, Harper goes on to propose RESPs for poor kids…he’s planning to exterminate the poor by sending them to post-secondary school…


  15. It’s stupid for the same reason that all boutique-style tax credits are stupid. They add meaningless complications to the tax system every year, wtih no net benefit to anyone except for the politician who promised them.

    Remember the good old days when the Canadian Alliance proposed a flat tax, and a universal $10,000 deduction for each dependent? Yeah, those were the days. Now you get a credit for hockey gloves, and another for violin lessons. Whatever did the middle class do without them?

  16. Anon,
    I doubt this is a reaction…I expect he knew the sequence he would play these cards:
    1. First bash the liberal artsy crowd
    2. Give cash to “ordinary citizens” for programs.

  17. But nothing for the parents of fat, lazy tone-deaf and untalented kids…

    …because they grow up to vote Liberal.

  18. Why is it that Harper has no problem using tax policy changes to encourage people to do allegedly meritorious things, or to behave in meritorious ways, but the one area where he thinks using tax policy is “insane” is when it involves taxes to promote behaviour that helps the environment? Why is that?

    – JV

  19. hey Andrew

    where did your “Bring Back Tom Velk!” post (in my RSS reader) go?

    Surely the Macleans Blog Empire didn’t find drawing attention to the CBC Ombudsman’s findings re: Heather Mallick troubling?

  20. Raging Ranter: Somehow the fact that it’s true makes it even funnier.

  21. Arts classes for the middle class don’t mean art. Anybody remember watching Dead Poets Society? Art class is to make us all better lawyers and engineers.

  22. “But nothing for the parents of fat, lazy tone-deaf and untalented kids…

    …because they grow up to vote Liberal.”

    Then how do you explain Stephen Harper? Oh, yeah, he can play the piano. Forgot.

  23. Hey Ranter, have you ever tried to play violin wearing hockey gloves? That takes talent, friend. Double tax break fer shure!

    Flat tax, flat rebate per child, higher consumption tax. Eliminate 390 of the 400 (or whatever) lines on the income tax return.

    Hey, I’ve got the beginnings of a platform…

Sign in to comment.