Political interference

Andy Adams

Sept 14, 2021

With the Canadian federal election called by the Trudeau Liberal government coming on September 20th, the boat business needs to quickly get up to speed on a couple of issues and rally support behind our marine trade associations across Canada.

You already know about the Luxury Tax that the Liberals proposed a year ago. Boats priced over $250,000  will be taxed at the lesser of 20 per cent of the value above these thresholds ($100,000 for cars and aircraft, $250,000 for boats) or 10 per cent of the full value of the luxury car, boat or aircraft. The tax is proposed to come into force on January 1, 2022.Aug. 10, 2021

That problem is bad enough. We need to oppose this vigorously. Then I learned about another point in the Liberal platform. 

This new point in the Liberal platform says the Liberals will: “Offer willing municipalities means to manage and regulate boating on their lakes and rivers so that they promote free access, while ensuring the safety of boaters and the protection of the environment.”

What do you think the Liberals are really saying? Canadians already have free access to our lakes and rivers. Wouldn’t any legislation restrict the freedom we all enjoy now?

And, “ensuring the safety of boaters and the protection of the environment” sounds good, but Transport Canada and the Office of Boating Safety are already doing that job while police forces across the country are handling enforcement.

So, what’s their real agenda? Who is behind this?

With the assistance of NMMA Canada, I actually reached and interviewed a Liberal campaign spokesman about this. My first question was to ask where this was coming from.

The spokesman said that this item in the Liberals Election Platform was coming “from the bottom up” – from the municipalities’ stand point wanting to have more control over boating safety and access.

I pointed out that we have free and unrestricted access now. I asked, wouldn’t any change to that be a move to restrict access?

Several times he stated that municipalities (and he would not name any specifically) wanted to address problems with boat speed, shoreline erosion and noise.

I can’t believe that any municipalities have asked for this. I doubt they would have budget for this. Law enforcement has no extra manpower to enforce on-the-water speed limits, yet he went back to shoreline erosion and speeds several times.

The platform point is very vague and he wasn’t able to add more detail, but I also raised the proposed Luxury Tax on boats and I said the boat business seems to have become a Liberal target. He assured me that was not the case. I think that it is. Liberal and NDP politicians both seem to see taxing the rich as a key platform commitment.

Next Steps – follow your marine trade association closely on this one. This could open a Pandora’s Box of self-interest and restrictions to boating.

I was impressed with the recent member communication from Boating Ontario that itemizes the main party election platform points that could have either a positive, or a negative impact on our industry. There is a lot being talked about that could hit boating. Have a look at that and  share the information as widely as you can before election day.

Andy Adams – Editor

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