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Liberal Green Shift plan dominates town hall meeting

by Keith Corcoran

Scott Brison, MP for Kings-Hants, right, joins  South Shore-St. Margarets Liberal candidate Dr. Bill Smith at the Fairview Inn in Bridgewater on September 27 for a town hall public discussion meeting.
 COUNTY - South Shore-St. Margarets Liberal candidate Dr. Bill Smith and Scott Brison, MP for Kings-Hants, answered questions during a town hall public discussion meeting at the Fairview Inn in Bridgewater on September 27.

 The hour-long session, which was attended by about 70 people, included speeches by Dr. Smith and Mr. Brison, as well as a brief question and answer period led by Derek Wells, co-chairman of the campaign to elect Bill Smith and president of the Nova Scotia Liberal party.

 "We have the best ideas, and we have the best vision for Canada," Mr. Brison said in his opening remarks. "We have a plan that we can talk to Canadians about on their doorsteps, in their homes, in Tim Hortons or in Sobeys or anywhere else, and we can earn support from Canadians from the merits of our ideas."

 One voter raised concerns about the party's proposed carbon tax, as outlined by the Liberal Green Shift plan, and the revamping of the current tax system.

 He asked Dr. Smith if he would be willing to speak out publicly against it, or to go so far as to vote against the plan if his constituents were against it.

 "No," Dr. Smith replied. "I believe in the carbon tax. I have read it, and I understand it, and I think that it is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that we can have in my generation."

 He said he would prefer to conduct a series of similar town hall meetings in order to better explain the Liberal Green Shift plan to constituents, and to discuss their concerns.

 Mr. Brison added, "There are four political parties in this election with plans to price carbon. We are being truthful and we are laying it out. The other parties are hiding their plans.

 "Our tax cuts are fair, and they help low- and middle-income Canadians who pay a higher percentage of their income in energy costs. The only thing that you can do that is responsible and forward thinking as energy prices continue to go up is to help your citizens invest to cut their energy consumption, help your businesses do it, help your farms, help your fishermen. That is good for the economy, good for the environment, good for your wallet and good for the planet."

 One undecided voter who lives in rural Nova Scotia and has read the Liberal Green Shift plan said, "I would like to understand how your tax credits will actually impact a low-income family who already has children, who already has a disabled husband and who already gets back all the tax they pay in.

 "You can give me a $10,000 tax credit to fix my house, but I don't have enough money to fix my house. You can give me an additional tax credit for my children's recreational activities which I don't have enough money to pay for anyway. How will this plan change the quality of the lives of people like me, and I'm not the only one, there are a lot of us."

 Mr. Brison said, "With the disabled tax credit now, it is not refundable. What that means is you have to be paying taxes to benefit from it. Part of our plan is to make it refundable. It will benefit every person in Canada with a disability."

 He added that the Liberal Green Shift plan proposes to increase the working income tax benefit as well as providing a refundable credit for rural Nova Scotians.      

 "Shifting to refundable tax credits means that as long as they file their taxes, Canadians will benefit," he said.

 "Our plan does the most for low-income Canadians," he said. "It aims to reduce child poverty by 50 per cent and overall poverty by 30 per cent."

 The Liberal Green Shift plan proposes to change the way that taxes are collected in Canada, in part by cutting taxes on income, investment and innovation, and shifting those taxes to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste, according to the web site.

 The site invites individuals to calculate how the proposed Liberal Green Shift plan tax measures will impact their personal household income by using the Green Shift Tax Benefit Calculator.

posted on 10/07/08
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