Many Canadians, including Battle River-Crowfoot constituents because our riding is home to Camp Wainwright and many who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces, are disturbed by the Liberal government’s cancellation of tax relief for our troops deployed in the fight against ISIS. Many of us feel strongly that it is unjust for the Liberals to take away a tax credit worth up to $1,800 per month from each of Canada’s troops who serve in harm’s way.
The Official Opposition is frustrated and outraged by the government’s decision and we are asking the Defence Minister, the Hon. Harjit Sajjan to reverse it. James Bezan, MP our National Defence Opposition Critic wrote a letter in November to the Minister warning that this policy should not be implemented. Mr. Bezan voiced his appeal again at the Standing Committee on Defence in December, and has been asking about it during Question Period ever since.
Before Canadian troops were deployed to Kuwait, the previous Conservative government ensured that they would be entitled to full danger pay. The first cuts by the Liberals were done on Sept. 1, 2016. Even more Canadian troops will be affected on future missions, including as early as June this year should our troops be sent to Africa.
This is the same government that has racked up record deficits and tens of billions of dollars in borrowed money to finance their out-of-control spending. Now, they are raising taxes everywhere, such as CPP payroll hike, Carbon tax grab among others and cancelling tax credits – tuition and textbook credits, children’s arts and fitness tax credits, and more – and now they are taking an important tax credit away from our troops.
The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces volunteer to leave their families as they travel abroad to perform dangerous work and put themselves at risk in service of our country. They miss important milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. While no amount of money can make up for this, does anyone disagree that our troops should earn additional income when deployed to serve in known dangerous circumstances?
This decision was made after the troops had agreed to deploy. It could cost Canadian Armed Forces members $9,000 for a six-month deployment. In cutting this benefit, the Liberals have cheated our troops and their families out of hard earned money that they expected, counted upon, and deserve.
The Liberals have decided to revoke the benefit for all of our troops who are battling ISIS at a time when the wold knows that U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to ramp-up the battle against ISIS. This past week, U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis, former commander of U.S. Central Command had glowing words of praise for Canadian troops saying, “The lives lost in the Afghan conflict have created a permanent bond between our countries. Your pledge to do a lot of leadership, whether it be in humanitarian ops, in battle groups, in reassurance efforts, we’re proud as all get-out of you and your forces and what they’ve stood up and delivered.”
I will continue to support the Conservative Party’s efforts to have the government reverse their decision and support the brave men and women who stand on guard for all of us.