Policy alert


Stephen Harper promises a fitness tax credit. So long as he’s Prime Minister in 2015.

Stephen Harper continued touting his low-tax campaign message Sunday by announcing that a re-elected Conservative government would create a $500 fitness tax credit for adults — but after the budget is balanced by 2015. He also promised to boost the children’s credit from $500 to $1,000, a change also to be enacted once the government gets back to balanced books.


Policy alert

  1. I'm hardly a "let's make the income tax act fit on a postage stamp!!!!!!" type, but the piddling little directed tax cuts are beginning to annoy me, as laudable as all the individual items may be.

  2. Does anyone who saw the recent ping-pong photo think it is a good idea for PM Harper to delay his fitness initiative til 2015?

    • What he really needs to delay is his next visit to Dunkin Donuts.

      • Haha me too because if I wait until 2015 I will be 1000 pounds.

  3. Why should the government promote gym memberships over running, biking or exercising at home? Is working out at a gym better than a day spent skiing? Or maybe they'll subsidize our lift tickets too?

    I guess these are all questions for the "expert panel" Harper said he would appoint to study exactly which activities should be subsidized. I hope that expert panel is not stacked with martial arts types and has a few yogis on it.

    Really, does anyone else get the feeling Harper's campaign is a parody?

    • It would make sense to extend the credit to exercise equipment as well – maybe in 2030! As for activities which take little to no financial outlay, while you may not be getting the tax credit at least you aren't expending any income!

      • Tax credits are a shift in tax burden between different groups. In this case, between joggers and people who join a gym. The former pays his/her usual rate of tax and the latter gets a tax credit.

        Not that I think this proposal is meant to be taken seriously. The Globe reported that Harper spent the day in gyms and playing street hockey to distinguish himself from Ignatieff who spent the day discussing and answering questions about policy. Probably Harper just came up with this idea yesterday.

        • Why do you think harper wants to be seen playing piano with little girls and street hockey with little boys during a really important (even if it is reckless, unnecessary, etc etc) federal election campaign? Playing with kids, every day so far, but no policy, or nothing of significance.

          He's got nothing to say, he looks really grim and listless — I wonder what's going on in his head? Do you think they will face four more weeks trying to campaign on that thin budget?

          • Harper was playing Road Hockey with kids?

            How many head shots did he dish out?

          • Was Stephane Dion playing?

          • That is perhaps the funniest video I have every seen in my entire life. Like way more funny than that cat that tried to jump from the chair to the table and came up way short.

          • I have to admit I laughed a lot. I guess the goalie couldn't understand him when he was asking him just to let one in…
            It had a Fred Stanfield quality to it, except in agonizing detail. whenever I hear the elephant walk i'll think of Stephane (Harper still sucks and probably would have had some anonymous dude run the goalie)…

          • Fred? Bob?

          • That was so funny, I miss Dion!!

          • All politicians do this – it's the kissing babies type stuff. But, if a politician starts to spend most of their campaign time playing with little kids, I think they've got a problem.

        • I hear when the opposing centre challenged Harper to a faceoff he pulled his own sweater over his head and turtled…

    • From the looks of it, Jacques Demers and Nancy Greene Raine will have positions on any Harper faux committee. They'll bobblehead their way through it, eating lavishly at our expense, and report back that the Liberals really hate the troops and your boot camp instructor.
      Never mind the fact that those who truly need tax breaks are those who likely can't afford a gym and who won't be signing up with the promise of $56 rebate at a later date.

  4. Is Harper trying to be the first politician in Canadian history to campaign almost entirely on what he plans to do after the next election?

    • I think he's breaking new ground with this approach. Maybe voters should hold off voting for him.

      • Good idea. Tell him he's got your vote in 2015.

    • I've been thinking about that. However, he kind of has to, because Flaherty's been quite up-front about saying he refuses to do any more work. So what additional can Harper promise that isn't already in the budget? Only things in some budget in the far future.

  5. I read about Harper and his middle class tax credits and thought of conservative red meat article I read the other day.

    "Under the rules of the modern welfare state, we give up a portion of the capacity to provide for ourselves and in return are freed from a portion of the obligation to discipline ourselves. Increasing economic collectivism enables increasing moral individualism, both of which leave us with less responsibility, and therefore with less grounded and meaningful lives.

    Moreover, because all citizens — not only the poor — become recipients of benefits, people in the middle class come to approach their government as claimants, not as self-governing citizens, and to approach the social safety net not as a great majority of givers eager to make sure that a small minority of recipients are spared from devastating poverty but as a mass of dependents demanding what they are owed. It is hard to imagine an ethic better suited to undermining the moral basis of a free society.

    Meanwhile, because public programs can never truly take the place of traditional mediating institutions, the people who most depend upon the welfare state are relegated to a moral vacuum. Rather than strengthening social bonds, the rise of the welfare state has precipitated the collapse of family and community, especially among the poor." Beyond Welfare State, National Affairs, Spring 2011

    • In a nutshell, bergkamp has explained why Somalia is paradise on Earth.

      • Only in your ignorant and feverish imagination.

        Author is thinking of North America pre – 1960 and that was nothing like Somalia.

        Left wing types are misanthropes – they believe it is choice between big government or anarchy because people can't be trusted. Dire understanding of human nature.

        • I do ( and did) realize that the author was thinking about a mythical pre-1960 America, so I am certainly happy to apologize for my cheap shot.

          That said, I have a hard time relating fondly back to a time when for most people individual rights were either a struggle or a joke.

    • That's nice. Carry on citing sources from the USA, whose political history and culture is literally foreign to the Canadian experience. Your depiction of Canadian social values is unlike most of my experience as a 60 years (plus) citizen of this country.

      You can have your rugged individualism and "survival of the richest" doctrine. I think it's alien to our culture and I hope that never changes.

    • Wait, wait,.. I thought freedom was a GOOD thing?

      Here we have a document telling us we give up some income to get additional freedom, and he laments this?

      I mean, if you want to go the other way, it seems the fundamentalist muslim have exceedingly little moral individualism and quite a bit of moral control. Is this where you're espousing we head?

  6. Newsflash: Harper also promises to eliminate poverty and make end all inter-racial animosity by 2015, but only if the deficit is eliminated.

    Tax credits need to be closely examined as they are proposed. Does anyone really think these credits will get one extra person up off the couch? Does anyone think it's aimed at getting a certain demographic to vote for him? Just how many of these nifty tax credits are being aimed at more or less the middle class, right now? I can hear Coyne grinding his teeth from 6000 k's away.
    There's quite a debate in our house as to whether TCs are an effective way to change/ reward behaviour. My better half says yes. She has a point…it does undoubtedly make the target activity more attractive from a $ pov…and it may change behaviour in some cases. I think it depends on the individual and the credit. One one thing we agree…people who can afford to shell out a $1000 for their child's hobbysport don't need a tax break.

  7. Ignatieff should promise everyone puppies in 2020

    • Harper would just counter with unicorns in 2045.

  8. .
    The Government of Harper, Torpedo of Tax Cut, Opposition is Not an Option, Road Show…

  9. That's Harper to a 'T'; first comes the big stick, followed by a photo of a carrot, then the promise of carrot seeds from a catalogue… At least all the CEOs got their gyms renovated with their latest tax-cut bonuses…

  10. I'm with you. Although the wife's point is valid…making good stuff easier to afford and rewarding that behaviour is not inherently wrong. What may be wrong is upping the ante. $500 for my daughters activity did play a factor [ not at all the only factor] in spending decisions; we too would have done it anyway, and compensated elsewhere – i might have given up my extra Americano during the day – man are we ever spoiled – tough choices! But ratcheting it up to $1000 looks like pandering to me, [and a waste of precious resources]…SH wouldn't do that would he?

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