By Gerry Barker
April 8, 2020
Here is a personal observation about how all Canadians are being asked or ordered to change the social aspect of their existence to stop the spread of the Covid 19 virus.
Every day I watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outline in broad terms what the government is enacting to meet the stringent demands of social isolation to, mitigate the spread of the virus.
Indeed, the government has taken important steps to not only support those workers who have lost income, but is exploring plans to assist graduating university and college students who face the no-summer-job opportunities.
Not so clear is the effective checking of returning Canadians who traveled the world and the southern U.S. Also, refugee claimants who walk across the border demanding entry into our country.
The most devastating damage the Trudeau government has inflicted in the past four years is the denial of Alberta oil and natural gas to markets outside of Canada other than the U.S.
The policies of theTrudeau government to stop Western Canada’s prime fossil fuel interests are a key element of the Canadian economy.
Blocking new markets for Canadian crude
These policies include spend $4 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline right of way. This was to get western Canadian oil to the blue water markets around the Pacific rim.
Other pipeline expansions were denied including the Canada East line to St. John, New Brunswick where there is a port to export Canadian fuel to new markets from the North pole east.
Here’s what a lot of people are not aware. That pipline stretched from Alberta to Ontario and was used for years to transport natural gas to Ontario. The owner, TransCanada Pipeline offered to give the unused pipeline to the federal government.
Then trouble. Former Premier Kathleen Wynne denied allowing the pipeline to cross Ontario. Quebec chimed in. The result was that oil from Saudi Arabia was the chief supplier of oil to most of Eastern Canada.
For her part, Premier Wynne’s government went on a wind and solar power producing binge that will cost Ontarians thousands over the next 15 years.
Here’s why. Her plan to subsidize electricity power costs for five years was a political decision. It didn’t work. Her government was wiped out in June 2018.
To drive home the effect of this decision is that 60 per cent of Ontario’s power is generated by two nuclear plants.
The result was changing Ontario’s energy generation to wind and sun has been a disaster.
What does this have to do with Covid 19?
In 1980, Bill Clinton’sclosest advisor told Democratic presidential candidate Bill : “ It’s the economy, stupid.”
Today, 30 years later, an important income for many Canadians, who are facing a second implosion of a major Canadian economic commodity, was legislated by the Prime Minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau.
Then the government introduced what was called the National Energy Plan.
It was a disaster that weakend the economy of Western Canada and eventually the Prime Minister resigned.
Albertans were furious and the rise of the Reform Party became a reality.
Two wrongs don’t make it right
I applaud the Trudeau government with initiating programs to support workers, graduating students and repatriation of Canadians returning from overseas..
But there is one class of citizens who have been left out of being helped. Canadians. It is those senior Canadians who have seen their Registered Income Finds and RRSP’s lose value.
I withdraw more than the minimum over the year. Come July, the monthly withdrawl is reduced by 20 per cent. I know it becomes a tax credit for the current year but it fails the test of producing income when needed for maintaining a lifestyle.
It’s a diminishing source of investment. It is a fixed design that dictates annually the minimum the owner must withdraw. If you exceed that limit then the CRA withholds its share.
I have always been puzzled about this. It is an impediment to the owner of the RIF. Really who cares? The government will collect taxes when you die on the remainder of the RIF balance.
I sent a letter to our MP, Lloyd Longfield, four years ago and never received a reply.
Now the situation has changed. The RIF values for those Canadians who invested in securities have substantially evaporated.
Perhaps the Trudeau government should suspend forcing RIF holders paying taxes until the economy grows and investments recover.
This is an outdated system. RIF owners need revision to allow them to access funds when needed. The Government will tax that amount exceeding the mandated amount for the year.
It’s not like we are asking for money. We pay taxes on our income each year. Each year that includes the RIF income. We cannot spend the funds witheld for taxes when we need it.
Your comments are welcome.