Proposed tax credit to offset cost of home security defeated

Randy Hoback/ Daily Herald File Photo

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback is expressing disappointment that his private members’ bill that would have established a home security system tax credit was defeated.

The bill was defeated during its second reading on Wednesday.  It was supported by 117 members of the Conservative party as well as Independent Derek Sloan, but defeated when the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party voted against it.

“I would like to publicly thank my Conservative Party colleagues for supporting my Private Members Bill to make home security more affordable for Canadians. 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 written statement.

“Sadly, NDP and Liberal MPs instead dismissed the increase in crime now being experienced in Western Canada by voting against my legislation.  I very much wanted to get my Bill to Committee Stage to address all MPs’ concerns in order to get it through the House and on to the Senate. I am very disappointed that this now will not happen.”

 The non-refundable credit would have been applied to the installation, maintenance and monitoring of a security system installed in an individual’s home, including separate structures such as garages or barns.

The maximum amount of eligibility proposed was $5,000 per year.

According to a conservative press release, 2019 statistics show 6,210 Criminal Code violations per 100,000 people nationally in rural areas in 2017. In Saskatchewan, the rate was 13,829 per 100,000, double the national average.

That same year, rural crime rates in the Prairie provinces were 36 to 42 per cent higher than in urban areas.

The measures wouldn’t just help rural residents, Hoback said, arguing that it could have also help urban dwellers who are also looking at installing security systems to thwart would-be thieves.

In a house debate on the issue, Liberal Kevin Lamoureux said he agrees that a home security system would provide a higher sense of security and comfort to his constituent, but did not think a tax credit was the way to go. He said the tax credit would be inaccessible to many, and that the money saved by not issuing a tax credit would be put to better use towards more community policing or other initiatives, rather than “special taxes that help some more than others to the degree that it becomes somewhat unfair.”

Bloc Quebecois MP Gabriel St-Marie said he thought the bill would only push people to spend more on security systems that wouldn’t adequately protect them.

Like Lamoureux, St. Marie argued the money would be better spent enhancing police resources.

The NDP said non-refundable tax credits benefit those who have higher incomes, and are thus unfair. They added that the estimated cost of the tax credit, set by the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Office at $220 million, would be better spent supporting communities to address the root causes of crime.

The conservatives argued that the tax credit “will provide a financial incentive for families to better protect themselves.

“As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire. “By making it just that much more difficult for thieves or criminals to go undetected, it will undoubtedly discourage future crime from occurring and provide valuable evidence to help solve a crime.”