Cannan: Lots of help to do your tax return online

Yes, you can do something about "tax pain."

There is a commercial running on TV right now that shows a patient visiting a doctor with a pain in his behind. “It’s tax pain,” the doctor says to the patient. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Fortunately for Canadians, our Conservative government has a different diagnosis. Since 2006, our government has provided tax relief by significantly reducing the tax burden for Canadians. Today, it’s estimated that an average family living in Canada can save as much as $3,000 in income tax.

In the next few days you will be able to go to my website at www.cannan.ca to access our annual tax guide which outlines the tax breaks that are available to families, individuals, seniors and small business.

The Canada Revenue Agency is also available to answer any of your tax questions and can be reached at www.cra-arc.gc.ca or 1-800-959-8281.

This concerted effort to provide tax relief both at a personal and business level has not only helped us get through the worst of the global recession, it is fiscally sustainable.

It also lays the foundation for strong growth in our economy by establishing Canada as a low tax jurisdiction for investment.

Investment is key to any economy. It generates improvements in productivity, leading to wage increases, the creation of new jobs, stronger economic growth and a higher standard of living for Canadians. Now, Canada leads the G-7 with the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment, where just a few years ago we badly trailed some of our key competitors.

As well, our government’s move, prior to the recession, to use surplus budgets to pay down significant amounts of debt—a record $38 billion—enabled us to tackle the global recession with effective stimulus measures to maintain jobs.

By investing primarily in infrastructure spending, in partnership with the provinces and municipalities, we not only ensured that the stimulus funding was going directly into local infrastructure projects where it was needed, it was an investment in the growth of our local economy.

Attention to our debt also enabled us to take measures to protect those who did lose their jobs in the recession by increasing the number of weeks long term employees could collect EI, by extending programs like Workshare, which many of our local manufacturers depend upon, and by freezing increases in EI payments during the recession.

In the coming weeks, much will be made of the fact that we carry a deficit. It will be characterized by some as a waste of taxpayers’ money. But it is important to consider what our economy would look like had the government stood by and done nothing.

Our commitment to paying down the debt certainly helped put us in a good position going into the recession just as our commitment to reducing the deficit, one-third in 2011-12, less than one-half of this year’s deficit in 2012-13 and a balanced budget by 2015—will stand us in good stead.

Speaking of a strong local economy, this week I had the pleasure of touring a local company, SkyTrac Systems, which is one of world’s most trusted providers of satellite communications systems for aircraft operators.

My host was Stephen Fuhr, vice-president of the family owned and operated company. Stephen retired a few years ago after having a very distinguished career as an Air Force pilot. Skytrac employs more than 50 people in our community and has customers on every continent.

Our aviation industry is an important employment cluster for our Okanagan Valley, particularly to graduates from Okanagan College and UBCO, and is the kind of industry that will benefit from our corporate tax cuts. I wish Stephen and his team nothing but continued success.

I’d also like to extend congratulations to Shelley Cook and the John Howard Society on the groundbreaking of another social housing project. This is another great example of a community organization working in partnership with all levels of government to help provide hope for the homeless.

Last but not least, I had the opportunity to sit down with Karen Hawes, the incoming president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to working with Karen and the chamber to help make our community more prosperous than ever. On behalf of the community, I extend many thanks to outgoing president Wesley Shields for his dedication and commitment to the economic growth of Kelowna.

As always, if you wish to discuss any federally-related concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at 250 470-5075 or ron@cannan.ca.

Ron Cannan is the MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

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