Le Blogue Broadbent

New Finance Minister supports tax loophole that 86% of families won't benefit from

Joe Oliver has never really been the type to paddle against the current. 

So it's not super surprising that Stephen Harper's new Finance Minister has come out in favour of family income splitting, even though the $3 billion Mad Men Giveaway has been criticized by think tanks across the ideological spectrum.

For all the knocks against Oliver's predecessor Jim Flaherty, who resigned from cabinet on Tuesday, at least he wasn't afraid to rock the boat when he thought Harper was dead wrong.

"I could usually get him to come around to a position I could live with," Flaherty told CBC News recently.

That's why it was encouraging last month to see Flaherty speak out about a 2011 Conservative election promise to bring in income splitting for families with children under 18.

"It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts of the Canadian population virtually not at all," Flaherty said.

"I'm not sure that overall it benefits our society," Flahery added.

Too bad it looks like the most radical change Oliver intends to make as Finance Minister is to stop challenging Harper when he's wrong. 

Here are key stats for Oliver to consider to help him reconsider:

  • 86% of families would gain no benefit at all from the tax loophole.
  • The bottom 60% of families (those making $56,000 or less) would receive, on average, $50. Most families in this group would receive no benefit whatsoever.
  • The richest 5% of Canadian families — those making over $147,000 — would see an average benefit of $1,100, with one in 10 of this elite group gaining more than $5,000 from this loophole.
  • The top 5% of families would see more benefit than the bottom 60% of families.
  • 4% of families would gain less than $500.
  • 1% of all families would get more than $6,500. Most of those $6,500 gainers are already among Canada’s richest."
  • Only 16% of Canadians believe income splitting would be a significant benefit for them.
  • 52% of Canadians believe there would be no benefit to them
  • 23% of Canadians think the Conservatives should go ahead with the idea income splitting, compared to 73% who would opt for other priorities.

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