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Northern Newfoundland wants tax deduction back

Residents of St. Anthony and the Great Northern Peninsula as a whole have been excluded from the Northern Tax Deduction since 1991. FILE//NORTHERN PEN
Residents of St. Anthony and the Great Northern Peninsula as a whole have been excluded from the Northern Tax Deduction since 1991. FILE//NORTHERN PEN - Stephen Roberts

Great Northern Peninsula excluded from northern deduction since 1991

What's the issue?

Residents of the Great Northern Peninsula have been excluded from the Northern Tax Deduction since 1991 and local governments have been fighting to get it back ever since. They have gotten nowhere with any federal government on it and feel there is no political will on the issue.

Who cares most about it and why?

Gerry Gros, mayor of Anchor Point and chair of the Great Northern Peninsula Joint Council, has been fighting this cause for over a decade. He says the area should never have been excluded and the deduction would help with the cost of living, which is a factor in population decline and attracting professionals.

How might this impact my family and friends?

Cost of living in the area is high, due to isolation and lack of competition. The tax deduction would make living in the area more affordable and attractive and help bring in more professionals to the area, such as medical staff.

What are the parties promising to do about it?

Liberal incumbent Gudie Hutchings said she has made numerous attempts to have it reinstated and fully understands the need for it in the riding.

Hutchings said she and her staff have met with Finance Minister Bill Morneau on many occasions regarding this but have not succeeded in getting it changed.

“I am committed to continuing the fight for fairness on this issue and hopefully at some point in the future we will get this done,” Hutchings said in a statement.

Green Party candidate Lucas Knill said his party is committed to improving food security and helping people live where they feel most comfortable. He said he would have to learn more about the issue but would advocate for what the people in the riding want.

Josh Eisses, Conservative candidate, said if elected he is committed to meeting with regional and municipal councils throughout the riding to learn more about their priorities, including the Northern Tax Deduction.

“I want to be a strong voice for the riding in Ottawa and to fight for your priorities,” he said.

Candidates for the other parties did not reply.

What key piece of intel will help me form an opinion or have a conversation?

Government says the regions picked are based on different factors, including proximity to urban centres, latitude and population. The data used to determine who was eligible is now 30 years old and only one zone has been added to the list since 1991. Communities with far more access to resources and much larger populations, such as Fort McMurray and Grand Prairie AB, get the deduction. All of Labrador gets the deduction as well, despite some communities being more southern than parts of the GNP.

Since the data used to determine eligibility is now 30 years old, government should review all the eligible zones with current information.


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