EAST CENTRAL — A local MP’s effort to create a tax credit for home security systems has been defeated.
Randy Hoback, the MP for Prince Albert, introduced a private members bill in February 2020 to create a non-refundable tax credit that would be applied to the installation, maintenance, and monitoring of a security system within an individual’s property, to a maximum of $5,000 per year.
On June 9, the bill was defeated in its second reading, with 118 yeas and 209 nays. The Conservatives and one independent voted in favour, while the Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Québécois and Greens voted against.
“I tabled this bill in response to calls for action by property owners in our constituency plagued by recurring thefts and break-ins,” Hoback said in a prepared statement to media.
“Sadly, NDP and Liberal MPs instead dismissed the increase in crime now being experienced in Western Canada by voting against my legislation. Their dismissal of these increasing crime rates only shows how out of touch both the NDP and Liberals are with the concerns of Western Canadians, both rural and urban.”
Mark Gerretsen, a Liberal MP from Ontario, called it a “boutique tax credit” that would only benefit those that are wealthy enough to afford a home security system, while its cost would be borne by all taxpayers. He said instead, the federal Liberal government cut taxes for middle-class Canadians, raised them for the wealthiest one per cent, and increased benefits for families and low-income workers.
“Who has home security systems in their house? It is people who can afford them. Home security is not something that is a need or a requirement, especially not in a country like ours,” he said in the House of Commons on June 4.
“I have one in my house, but I do not think that it is a requirement, and therefore the federal government, through the taxpayers of this country, should not be subsidizing and effectively paying for it.”
Daniel Blaikie, a Manitoba NDP MP, said the money that would have gone to supporting that tax credit would be better spent staffing rural RCMP detachments.
“It was stated earlier, and it is quite true, that the success of a security monitoring system is only as good as the response time of the local authorities. The fact of the matter is that, as long as our RCMP detachments and other rural policing forces are chronically understaffed, those response times are simply not going to be adequate to the task,” he said.
“At the very least, one could say that this bill puts the cart before the horse.”
Andréanne Larouche of the Bloc Québécois opposed Hoback’s bill on similar grounds as the NDP.
Hoback told the House the private member’s bill came from a town hall he held in 2016, where attendees talked about their concerns with rural crime. He said attendees talked about being broken into, not just once, but twice or three times, that they talked about how they are no longer able to get insurance. The Prince Albert MP said they wanted action.
“When I introduced the bill, I said that it was not the be-all and end-all, but part of a package of measures we need to address the crime issue, especially in rural Canada,” he said.
“If a boutique tax credit is not the right way to go, they [those opposed] should tell us what the right way to go is, but at least address the reality that this is a real issue. Let us put forward some solutions to address the issue.”