An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (home security measures)

This bill was previously introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Randy Hoback  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Second reading (House), as of Feb. 18, 2021

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-234.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act in order to establish the home security tax credit.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 18th, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

moved that Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (home security measures), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, this is something my constituents have been talking about. It is an issue that is near and dear to their hearts, one they have been dealing with over the past few years. They are glad to see that something is finally being done.

I am proposing Bill C-234, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (home security measures). It was reinstated from second reading in the previous Parliament. The bill would help make home security more affordable for Canadians by creating a home security tax credit. This non-refundable tax credit would be applied to the installation, maintenance and monitoring of a security system installed in an individual's home. This would include any structure that is separate from an individual's home, such as a garage or a barn. The maximum dollar amount eligible for the tax credit application is $5,000 a year.

I am proud to mark the first hour of debate on this important piece of legislation, which would make a real difference in the lives of Canadians, especially those in rural areas. Like many parts of rural Canada, my riding of Prince Albert continues to suffer from increasing crime rates, and my constituents have made it very clear that they expect action on this file.

The bill came about through a variety of different ideas and consultations among colleagues in the Conservative Party. More importantly, it came to fruition through a meeting I had back in 2016. I have to give some context for the meeting.

On a Friday afternoon I got a phone call from a guy named Terry in my riding, who was very mad. He was upset. He informed me that he had another break-in. Someone broke in on his farm. His insurer was telling him that it may not be able to reinsure him, and he wanted to talk about it. I told Terry I was in the Christmas parade in Prince Albert, and I suggested we get together Saturday morning after the parade and talk about it.

When I was in the parade, I remember quite vividly that all of a sudden my phone went off. I hit the speaker button and Terry said there was going to be a few other people at the meeting. I told him it was not a problem; it was fine. He said some neighbours wanted to talk about it too.

I got to my office after the parade and there were 25 people in my office. This was with six hours of notice. They proceeded to tell me their property had been vandalized. They had been targeted, had things stolen out of their shops and had gas and vehicles stolen. They felt the police force was not doing anything about it and the legal system was letting them down.

They wanted action. They were upset. Of course, a lot of the actions are not federally regulated; they are provincially regulated. Having said that, they wanted to vent and let people know what was going on, and to look for solutions.

We came to the conclusion that we would hold a town hall meeting, so we put together a meeting at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Centre for the next Saturday morning. They asked me not to advertise it, because they did not want the criminals to know they were not going to be home. I did not advertise it. I just let them spread notice of it by word of mouth.

That Saturday morning when I got to the hall I was nervous. All of a sudden, there were cars in the parking lot and it was full. There were cars parked all the way down the street. I got downstairs and there was probably 200 to 300 people packed into this hall. We had no sound system, no speakers. We were expecting maybe 25 to 35 people, but it was a huge crowd.

I have to thank the mayor of Prince Albert. He quickly grabbed his sound system and brought it back so we could present. We brought together RCMP, city police, provincial colleagues, MLAs in Saskatchewan and Crime Stoppers, and we proceeded to talk about the options and what was available.

As we went through the meeting, there was a recurrent theme: People's property had been broken into once, twice or three times. Some felt a lot of this was gang-related, and some felt it was drug-related. People were looking for solutions. They seemed to know exactly where these culprits were coming from. The police were looking for advice on how they could best handle it, and even the municipalities wanted to know what they could do.

People knew that the one place where the criminals were hanging out was the only place on that road, so one solution came up: Maybe the road should not be graded. They wanted to let the snow blow in to keep the criminals home. Different ideas were tossed around, but what became very apparent was that people wanted to see action on this issue.

This is not unique to Prince Albert. In Alberta, former Alberta justice minister Doug Schweitzer wrote to the Minister of Justice asking for more serious penalties for rural crime. There was an Alberta task force, and the issues in my riding were issues right across Alberta. They are issues right across Saskatchewan, right across rural Ontario and in Quebec. They are right across the country.

One thing that was really unique, which the RCMP made me aware of, was the addictions issue and what they had seen or suspected when we had a slowdown in the oil patch. People who were making good money were all of a sudden out of work or no longer had a job, but they still had addictions. They still had issues.

What did they do? They resorted to crime, to stealing or whatever they could to feed their addictions.

There are many different issues in the background that need to be addressed and there are different things that we should be looking at as parliamentarians on how to solve this problem or make it better for our constituents. This is just one way. We will hear other ideas and suggestions from the Conservative Party to deal with this in a holistic manner.

One may ask what a home security system does? It actually does a lot. When one thinks of the idea of a tax credit for a home security system, first, people would have a good security system in place. What does that system do? It deters people from breaking into facilities or homes. That is one thing. Second, if people do break in, it allows police to have good identification factors to make the appropriate arrests, and hopefully those identification factors will stand up in a court of law. It provides a chance to identify who the culprits are. In a lot of cases, they are repeat offenders who are already known to the RCMP or the police, and the police need the evidence to proceed with arrests and to put the accused through the courts and to get convictions. That is one thing.

There is another thing that has come about, which I did not expect. It was a surprise. It should not shock me now, but it did at the start. People want action. They want us to do something. They want us to take action. Not only that, they want us to acknowledge that there actually is a problem. They want Ottawa to realize that they are in a situation for which they cannot seem to get a resolution. More people talk to me now, since the announcement of this bill, about how they have been personally impacted. I encourage all members to go to people not only in the rural areas but also in towns and cities, and they will find all sorts of examples of break and enters and crimes where a security system might have been the thing that would have deterred that action.

The head of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association called me on Saturday. He wanted me to know that the company was going to send a letter of endorsement for my bill and that he had been talking to APAS and SARM, who were thinking of doing the same thing. We are starting to see the need for action for people in rural Canada. They are looking for hope and this would give them some hope. This bill would allow us to talk about the issue, and it is a good issue that we should be talking about. This is very relevant to pretty well everybody in rural Saskatchewan, rural Canada or even in urban centres or cities. People want to feel safe in their homes. They want to make sure their families are safe, that their homes are their castles that will not be violated by any means. This will be one step in doing that. This will provide some of that comfort and safety for families. It is something that we should look at doing.

It is not just the family home. Like I said, it is the garage, the barn or the outbuildings that farms may have on their acreage. The bill would allow people to position the appropriate tools in the appropriate place so they can get the appropriate coverage to do what they need to do. This looks to me like a small step moving forward to deal with rural crime.

I look forward to hearing the debate and this bill's going to committee. This is a bill that people can work with quite easily. It is very simple: it is a $5,000 tax credit, which is easy for people to include on their tax returns. It shows them that we care and it starts the conversation about exactly what we need to do on rural crime. We are going to see different examples and ideas come from our colleagues in all parties on how to address this issue and hopefully find some solutions. If this bill gets people talking about it, then it is a success. I am looking forward its going to committee, and if there some things the committee wants to do to expand it or make it better, I look forward to those, too.

At the end of the day, when this bill hopefully passes and all parties agree that it makes sense and is something we want to do, I hope we can look our constituents in the eye and say that we started down the road of fixing this problem. Hopefully we will be creative enough as parliamentarians to discuss what we are going to do about the other parts of the problem, namely, what we will do about addictions, what we will do about the economic situations that a lot of people have been forced into, and what we will do about getting people jobs so they do not have to resort to crime in order to feed their families. Those are the types of things that we also need to discuss, and not just home security systems or home system monitoring and protection. Hopefully this is the start of those types of conversations among ourselves.

I hope to have intelligent conversation on this. This is something we can all look at and say we can get behind: that it makes sense and we can move it forward. If we can make it better, let us make it better. I have never been one to say that it is my way or the highway, and I am not about to say that with this bill.

I look forward to the spirit of the bill being recognized and appreciated, and the spirit is that we need to be doing something to help our constituents in rural areas and cities to protect their houses, to protect their families and to provide the security that they need. We are seeing lots of groups and individuals stepping on board. They are looking at this and saying this is a start.

As I said, when I talked with Arnold for about 15 minutes, he gave me an example of cattlemen in a rural area. People had gone out to their farms and shot cattle. We had a scenario just outside of Saskatoon, I think this spring, where somebody went in and shot some buffalo. They actually cut the gates and let them go. Buffalo wandering around in small towns is not something good. Again, we can see there is a recurring theme here that we need to provide better protection for people in rural Canada.

I want to stress that it is not just rural Canada. There are other examples. A person called me today saying that in urban centres they could use something like this bill to protect themselves. It would just provide that extra sense of safety.

I do not think I need to go on to use my full 15 minutes. I will stop there and I look forward to seeing support from all parties on this. I look forward to this moving through the House, to the debate and to positive suggestions that all members may have, participating in this dialogue to address things like rural crime and break and enters, and see some resolution and benefits for all our constituents.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 18th, 2021 / 6:35 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-234.

This bill amends the Income Tax Act to create a home security tax credit.

First, I wish to inform you that the Bloc Québécois will be voting against this bill. Our party and I recognize the challenge of home security, especially in rural areas. I come from a rural village called Saint-Jean-de-Matha. I commend the great passion that the hon. member for Prince Albert, for whom I have a great deal of respect, put into his speech.

This issue is very important, but we believe that the solution proposed in this bill is not effective enough.

We believe that the bill would only push people to spend more on security systems that would not adequately protect them. I am talking about keeping people safe, not property. As far as property is concerned, I do not know if the same thing happens in Saskatchewan, but in Quebec when we install security alarm systems, our insurance costs go down. There is also compensation for this. I will therefore focus on personal security.

Instead, we think that the money that would go towards subsidizing the purchase of these kinds of systems would be better spent by giving it to provincial police, indigenous police and the RCMP, as members have pointed out in discussions on this bill so far. I remind members that first nations police services are in serious need of resources and that the government needs to start funding them properly to help remote communities.

This bill would amend the Income Tax Act to establish a non-refundable personal tax credit for purchasing a home security system. The credit is for a maximum of $5,000 a year and includes the total of all amounts spent on home security. We have heard a number of arguments in support of this bill. One such argument is that crime in rural areas has risen higher than in urban areas. The member shared some compelling stories about people with addictions who resort to crime after losing their jobs. Since these areas are sometimes poorly served by law enforcement, residents may choose to install security systems, such as cameras or alarms.

The argument I want to advance here is that, as we see it, if the police are already having a hard time responding, investing in a security system that alerts the police would be an ineffective way to protect people, as I said, because police intervention is too slow to prevent the crime and keep people safe anyway. Let me reiterate that we appreciate the significance of this issue, but we think it would be better to invest more in supporting the RCMP, police services in Quebec and the provinces, and first nations police services. We think that introducing this tax credit will encourage people to spend money on systems that will probably not do much to prevent crime. From our perspective, it will actually give people a false sense of security.

I also want to reiterate that indigenous communities are sorely lacking in resources and are often poorly served by police forces. We think the money tied to this bill would be better spent on community security and safety, especially in first nations communities.

More fundamentally, the Bloc Québécois believes that the best way to fight crime is to fight inequality too. For example, although Quebec's social safety net is not perfect, it acts as a good foundation to ensure Quebeckers are protected. We have social programs to support families and the those most in need, including support to help women access the job market through family policy, such as subsidized child care and parental leave, which help combat poverty, since the two are linked. There is also the public school system, which has been mismanaged in recent years, not to say decades, but which is very important and has a wealth of knowledge and competence.

On that topic, this week is Hooked on School Days, so I salute all the young people and encourage them to continue their studies. I also commend the commitment of teachers in this mission.

Quebec's social safety net is part of a strong state that redistributes wealth. As we know, the Quebec model lies somewhere between those of northern Europe and western Europe. I actually have two books to recommend to any of my colleagues who would like to understand more about the importance of the state in the fight against inequality and in crime reduction.

The first one, which I do not believe has been translated into French yet, is called Combating Poverty: Quebec's Pursuit of a Distinctive Welfare State. Published by the University of Toronto, this comparative analysis explains how Quebec moved away from Canada in its approach to its social safety net in response to the federal government's budget cuts of the Chrétien and Martin years. Despite those cuts, Quebec managed to create important and bold new programs in health and social services. Elsewhere in Canada, services to the public were declining because of federal disengagement, but Quebec expanded its offerings.

The Bloc Québécois is obviously watching very closely to ensure that the current deficit is not reduced through the same Liberal practices as those used in the second half of the 1990s.

The second book I will refer to that could be of interest to my colleagues was written in 1990 by the Danish economist and sociologist Gosta Esping-Andersen. In The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, he explains the various reasons behind Quebec's choices regarding the best ways to establish public policies to fight social inequality, which, I should mention, the Bloc Québécois believes is directly linked to the crime rate.

I believe that rather than covering the cost of security systems, the money that would be allocated under the bill could be put to better use by increasing transfers to the provinces and to Quebec for police services, especially those in indigenous communities. In that regard, the Speech from the Throne took a first step by recognizing the latter as essential services. They were the only ones not deemed essential up to that point. The First Nations Chiefs of Police Association, supported by the Assembly of First Nations, called for this recognition, as well as for funding provided in a more stable manner than through agreements, which only last two to five years and must be constantly renewed. We expect that recognizing these police services as essential services will be accompanied by the funding required to ensure they can continue their operations and work on crime prevention.

Again, from our point of view, this bill does not really help reduce harm. Instead it offers a tax credit to those who install these devices, which could lower their property insurance premiums, as I was saying at the beginning of my speech. In Quebec, having an anti-theft system may lower our insurance bill by tens or hundreds of dollars a year and reduce the risk of theft when we are away.

However, what is even more dangerous than having someone break in while the homeowner is away, to steal valuables or commit the crimes my colleague from Prince Albert was mentioning, is to be home when it happens. Even with the best system, the danger is not reduced if the police fail to show up.

In closing, I want to reiterate that we are of course very sensitive to this issue. I have a great deal of respect for all the remarkable work that my colleague from Prince Albert does, including in the area of agriculture. It was clear from his speech that he is listening to his constituents. However, we do not believe that a tax credit is the best solution. Again, we are more in favour of additional support for law enforcement, starting with indigenous police services, and we strongly encourage ramping up efforts to reduce social inequality, which would reduce crime.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 18th, 2021 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak on Bill C-234, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, home security measures.

I want to start by saying that I have a lot of respect for the member in question. I have worked with him, and I disagree with him profoundly on many issues, as he is well aware, but I respect the work he brings to the House of Commons. Also, having travelled through his riding numerous times, going into northern Saskatchewan and coming back as well, I understand the importance of this issue of folks feeling secure in their own community.

I will preface my remarks by saying that I certainly understand why the member has brought forward the bill. However, that being said, we believe that it is the wrong direction to take, and I will explain why.

First off, when we are talking about a non-refundable tax credit, we are actually talking about a tax credit that benefits those who have higher incomes. This is the same problem we are seeing with the disability tax credit, which is non-refundable. As members are well aware, it means that many people with disabilities, often the poorest of the poor, cannot access the disability tax credit because it is non-refundable.

As a result of that, and we saw this most recently during this pandemic when so many people with disabilities were struggling, in so many cases, they are not able to access the $600, which is a minimum amount to actually provide supports for those people with disabilities. Therefore, when we are talking about non-refundable tax credits, we are talking about people at the higher income threshold who will benefit from them.

That being said, this proposed tax credit for home security measures has been evaluated at costing close to $250 million. That is the starting point. The evaluation by the PBO is at $220 million, but that is rising, and with inflation we are talking about $250 million. However, if we are going to spend a quarter of a billion dollars, then what is the best way of making investments to protect and support our communities right across the country?

I will reference the valuable report that was put forward, and the NDP's complementary report a little later, but I do have to flag, because it is important, how a smaller amount made an extraordinary difference in community safety right across the country. That was with the crime prevention programs, which were actually stopped by the former Harper government when it cut $100 million from crime prevention programs and basically wiped them out right across the country. However, crime prevention programs, often staffed by very dedicated volunteers, made a huge difference in ensuring that community safety was paramount.

Every dollar that was spent in these crime prevention programs actually saved six dollars in policing costs, court costs and prison costs. So every dollar spent in crime prevention saves six dollars elsewhere and prevents crimes from being committed in the first place. I am a strong supporter of crime prevention programs. The ones we had in New Westminster and Burnaby, and the ones that existed right across the country, were an extremely important way of providing more safety and security for everybody in the community.

The former Harper government slashed and eliminated those programs, and the NDP caucus spoke out vehemently against that. It made no sense at all. It certainly was not cost effective. We know without crime prevention programs, the costs in policing and court costs are much higher than it would be to actually make those investments in the first place. It is important to note that for less than half the cost of this particular income tax measure, we could be seeing far more safety and security right across the country.

This is a stain on the record of the Harper government, which I do not think will ever go away. However, it is surprising to me that a new Liberal government, now five years later, has never acted to put back in place the crime prevention programs that were so effective right across the country. It is a tragedy.

The NDP, which has presented a building safer communities policy, has believed all along in those investments. Because they are cost-effective, and because they demonstrably lead to better community safety right across the country, they are the way to go. We disagree with the old parties that believe in being simply punitive after the fact. We believe the best route to public safety is ensuring that crime does not take place in the first place. That means removing the massive and growing inequalities we are seeing across this country.

During this pandemic, Canada's billionaires have increased their wealth by over $60 billion, yet so many Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. Investing in crime prevention programs, reducing inequality and putting in place a broad social safety net are all tools to ensure a broader level of community safety and security for everyone.

Earlier I said I wanted to reference a report on the topic of public safety in rural areas. This is very important, because this topic was studied by a House of Commons committee a few years ago. I want to reiterate that we are talking about a quarter of a billion dollars. Better investments could help make everyone safer.

The NDP's dissenting report was quite clear. Former NDP MPs Georgina Jolibois and Christine Moore were also part of the process. Our report addressed the indigenous situation and suggested investing to ensure that indigenous communities have the resources they need to improve quality of life, health and safety in each of these communities. The report also spoke about awareness raising and suicide prevention in rural areas. This is a problem that is becoming increasingly serious across the country.

My colleague, the member for Timmins—James Bay, also called for a national suicide prevention action plan. Rather than spend a quarter of a billion dollars on a tax credit for the wealthy, investing in a suicide prevention plan can make a huge difference.

There is also the issue of supporting victims, meaning women in rural areas who are victims of sexual or domestic violence. As we know, on any given day, 400 women in Canada are unable to find shelter from this kind of violence. That is appalling. This is something the NDP caucus has been calling for for a long time. Keeping people safer means making those investments. We have to invest to ensure that those 400 women have a safe place to go. Even if they are experiencing violence, that would make a huge difference. That is the kind of investment that counts.

Moreover, in the NDP's dissenting report to the committee's report, we brought up access to 911 emergency service. That service has to be available so that people in rural areas can call to get emergency services.

Although relatively inexpensive, all of these things could make a big difference in the safety of people living in rural areas.

Clearly, if we are talking about $0.25 billion, $220 million and then $250 million over the next few years, there are much more effective ways to spend that money on safety in rural areas and for everyone. Of course, this begins with using what has worked in the past, such as crime prevention programs. They were cut by the former Conservative government. The NDP will surely reinstate them if it ever gets the chance.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 18th, 2021 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I want to take a moment to talk about my friend and Conservative colleague from Prince Albert who introduced this private member's bill, Bill C-234. I know that my colleague from the NDP touched on a lot of different areas, but this bill focuses on one issue that can make a difference.

Since he was first elected in 2008, the member for Prince Albert has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. I have worked with him in some of these areas, particularly on crime, and witnessed first-hand his commitment and enthusiasm on the many issues near and dear to my constituents as well, whether it be agriculture, international trade, or anything else he has worked on with regard to the United States, including transport, and now this particular rural crime issue.

Across the Prairies, we have seen a steady increase in criminal activity in recent years. Criminals are no longer just stealing gas and diesel for their vehicles, but more expensive items such as farm machinery, tools and trailers.

In the last Parliament, my colleague from Lakeland, Alberta, passed her private member's motion, which instructed the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to undertake a study on rural crime. In response to that study, I held five rural crime town halls throughout my constituency to get a better understanding of the types of crimes being reported.

Being proactive in these five town halls, I actively sought people's policy proposals to improve public safety, not only for themselves but also their entire community. Soon after, I wrote the public safety committee outlining 13 proposals, because it was doing the study at the time, and one of them happened to be this very bill we are debating here today.

Before I speak about why I am supporting this legislation, it is important to highlight what happened with the public safety committee study on rural crime back in May 2019, almost two years ago. After eight committee meetings, the Liberals at the time used their majority to ensure that the report would contain absolutely nothing of substance.

In all my years in politics, I have never seen a committee report that was that thin. The Liberals did not allow a single recommendation to be included in that report, and after hearing from a multitude of witnesses, the entire report was just two and a half pages long. I do not know how much it cost to do, but I imagine it was almost $100 a word.

Worse yet, due to the committee's report being so short, the opposition filed a dissenting report that was no longer than the report itself, which prevented the opposition parties from including substantive additions to the report to improve it. I cannot think of any better example of how little time the Liberals have for some of these prairie issues. It was clear from the results of the last election.

Having said that, every MP in the Prairies knows this is a growing problem, and it is not just a prairie problem either. For example, police-reported crime rates are higher in rural than urban areas. In some cases, and I know my colleague from Joliette mentioned this in his speech tonight as well, crime is even 30% higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

In my constituency, we have seen an increase of property crime violations. We have also seen a rise in break-and-enter crimes. I met and spoke with individuals who were the victims of these crimes and they shared how violated they felt after someone broke into their home, farm or business.

In one instance, the thief was brazen enough to break into the home in the middle of the night while the family was sleeping, stole the car keys and drove away with the vehicle. While luckily no one was hurt in this instance, the fact remains that someone broke into their home while they were sleeping in their beds. They woke up the next morning with the frightening realization of how vulnerable and exposed they were.

People living in rural and remote communities know that due to their distance from major urban centres, response times by the RCMP, fire and ambulance are not as quick as they are in communities like Brandon or Prince Albert. Thieves and criminals also know that, which I believe is part of the reason they are now preying on rural communities.

Those who have ever lived on a farm or in a small town know that the relationship and connection with those in their community is something truly unique. They rely on their neighbours, they look out for each other and they make sure that when something needs to be done, they raise their hand to volunteer and get it done. That is what has been happening across the Prairies as rural crime watches have been resurrected.

People are now taking extra precautions, such as taking notice of vehicles are entering people's yards and reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement. I know many who used to pride themselves on not having to lock their doors or even leaving the keys in the console of their vehicles. Sadly those days are pretty well over.

The reality is that criminals are getting better organized. We found out that they are even using drones to check out people's farmyards to see if anyone is home, or to go hunting for what they want to steal next. No one who lives on a farm expects the RCMP to be able to respond to a call within 10 minutes.

This private member's bill will provide a financial incentive for families to better protect themselves. By creating a non-refundable tax credit for home security measures, it will help reduce the costs of getting a system installed. This tax credit would be applied to the installation, maintenance and monitoring of a security system installed on an individual's property to monitor structures such as homes, garages and barns.

As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 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. By increasing the risk of the criminal getting caught, either by catching their face or a vehicle on a camera, or by alerting law enforcement of the crime in real time, this bill is a common sense bill that will produce results.

If this bill is passed, it is my hope that the security companies will also help communicate this new tax credit to the public, in the same vein as what happened with the home renovation tax credit. I firmly believe encouraging this conversation about steps families can take to better protect themselves and their property will have a tangible impact on crime rates.

This bill is just one step to curb the rising rural crime rates. Our Conservative caucus knows there is still so much more work to be done. Solving this rural crime epidemic will take all three levels of government working together.

I want to applaud the Government of Manitoba for adopting one of the recommendations that came out of my rural crime town halls. Under the leadership of the former minister of justice, the Hon. Cliff Cullen, it established a dedicated RCMP rural crime task force in Manitoba, which the province calls the RCMP crime reduction enforcement support team.

It has already been involved in numerous province-wide operations, including the seizure of $76,000 from illegal goods and 150 weapons, and more than 20 recovered stolen vehicles. The team's good work and investigations have led to criminal charges against 43 people. This concept is something that both the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments have already implemented, and I suspect they are seeing similar results.

In closing, I urge all of my colleagues in the House to support this legislation. It is time for action and leadership on this issue. The Liberals are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a very ill-thought-out buyback program, which only impacts law-abiding firearms owners and sport shooters. Instead, let us spend time and resources on something that will make a big difference.

I thank my colleague from Prince Albert for all of his efforts on this file. I will be voting in favour of Bill C-234. As I said earlier, this is only one of the solutions in a vast suitcase of things that can be done and differences that we can make, but I think it is a big one. I believe that my colleague brings this forward in a responsible manner, which will be able to an impact on rural crime across Canada, never mind just on the Prairies.

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

February 26th, 2020 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (home security measures).

Mr. Speaker, I am truly honoured today to rise to introduce the bill.

Before I do, I would like to thank the many residents in my constituency who have reached out to me and provided input on this very important matter. I would also like to thank the member for Red Deer—Lacombe for his guidance and leadership and for seconding the bill. I would also like to thank the Conservative caucus for its support in moving this file forward.

Like many constituents in rural Canada, my constituents in Prince Albert are being ravaged by increasing crime rates. During the last Parliament, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security recognized that crime in rural areas was a growing concern and that rural crime rates in both eastern and western Canada were increasing.

The bill I am introducing today would create a non-refundable tax credit for home security measures. It would also assist rural residents in purchasing the home security they need to protect themselves, their families and their property. While it is not a complete solution, it is a step in the right direction, a step that individual legislators can take together to begin addressing this problem.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)