The Prime Minister said that the Budget would include a non-refundable tax credit for families that enroll their children in cultural activities. This continues the Harper government’s tax reduction strategy to provide special “boutique” tax preferences to every voting group in the country. It would appear, however, that he has forgotten one very important group -- PET-OWNERS.

Could a special tax credit for pet owners be justified? Of course, it could, probably a lot more than a tax credit for sports, public transit or cultural activities.

First, pets provide comfort and companionship to the elderly, especially those who can’t benefit from splitting pension income (poor elderly). Second, pets provide a means for teaching children empathy and therefore may reduce bullying. Third, pets are used to help physically and mentally challenged individuals, and terminally ill people in hospitals. Fourth pet owner baby boomers have increased their daily physical activity and consequently are less of a burden on the health care system.  Fifth, the Humane Society would love you since more people would be “rescuing’ animals. Sixth, it would help defray the costs of keeping pets especially for seniors (have you been to a veterinarian lately). Lastly, it would be easy to control the cost of the pet credit, unlike your other special credits. Who understands what a cultural activity is in the tax code? We would keep the pet credit for dogs and cats only. 

You may think that providing special tax credits to support youth sport activities, public transit and apprentice tools will win you votes but think about the votes you could win if you provided a tax credit to pet owners. Every farm in Canada probably has at least one dog or cat. Most middle -income families with children have a dog or cat.  Many single income tax earners have a dog or cat, so you would finally be doing something for them.

This is a big political winner. We are surprised you haven’t done it already. It could be a key part of Phase II of the Canada's Economic Action Plan.






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