Don’t let the energy-efficient home renovation program lapse.
Okanagan-Shuswap MP Colin Mayes heard this message, among others, at his meeting with members of the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Jan. 19. Mayes came to ask for input as part of the federal government’s pre-budget consultation.
He also talked about economic positives from his government’s Economic Action Plan such as infrastructure spending. He also pointed to a new tax credit for families whose children are participating in the arts, and a hiring credit for small businesses.
Mayes said his government is committed to returning to a balanced budget by restraining growth in spending.
“History shows that every government that has decided to clean up their operations and become more efficient and effective have come back and won by a landslide majority,” he said. “People want them to provide services like health care… but also want government to stay out of their lives and not interfere with their individual ability to be enterprising.”
Three people mentioned the Eco-energy Retrofit Homes program that is set to expire March 31, and asked that it continue. Among them, geothermal contractor Randy Arsenault said the eco-energy grants are crucial to the industry, and “they were pulled out from under us with no warning about a year-and-a-half ago.”
Then the program was re-instated, but is again set to expire.
Chamber general manager Corryn Grayston noted that construction trades have been suffering, and the rebate program had a positive impact.
Mayes said he would communicate the request, noting the program was also praised during his recent visit to Armstrong.
One person asked Mayes for more information about the Hiring Credit for Small Business, a one-time credit intended to stimulate new employment and support small businesses.
Tammy Martin, Mayes’ constituency assistant, provided a website link explaining that the credit gives small businesses relief from the employer’s share of employment insurance premiums paid in 2011, by paying up to $1,000, based on the increase in an employer’s EI premiums paid in 2011 over those paid in 2010.
Another person asked about MP pensions, noting they have been in the news lately.
“I think there’s a great disconnect between benefits of the public service and the private sector… notwithstanding your own pension as well.”
The news centred around the Canadian Taxpayers Association’s recently publicized MP pension figures and its calculation that taxpayers contribute $23 to MP pensions for every $1 that parliamentarians do. The figures included Mayes’ pension, outlining that if he exits political life in 2015, his Year 1 annual pension will be $46,049 and his lifetime pension will be $677,678. If he exits in 2019, his Year 1 pension will be $64,989 and his lifetime pension, $634,977.
Mayes noted: “I don’t necessarily agree with the amount taxpayers pay in. (But) that was part of the job description. I might say I wouldn’t work for that, but with the pension, maybe so.”
For information on providing input on the federal budget, phone the office of the clerk of the standing committee on finance at 613-992-9753 or email FINA@parl.gc.ca.