Public Transit rebate and other rants

We received a letter from the MP for Halton, Garth Turner, P.C. Thank you, but you could have saved the paper and the postage. In any case, this gave me the inspiration to post about something I’ve been meaning to comment on before, so here’s a quote from the letter:

We’re giving GO and other transit riders a break. Keep your monthly receipts, because now you can get a tax credit for using public transit, which will let you ride free for two months a year – and your our irreplaceable environment.

(I am not even going to mention the amazing Universal Childcare Benefit and the huuuuuge GST cut he mentions in the beginning of the letter.)

Ok, first of all, the math seems a little off to me. It’s a tax rebate, so you have to wait until the next year to get it, plus it only came into existence in mid-2006. But OK, let’s keep that aside. Let’s do the math:

I pay $214 dollars a month for my GO train pass. That’s $2568 Dollars per year. WOW, that is expensive. The tax rebate appears to be 15.25% (please correct me if I got that wrong). So that would $391.62 as a rebate. Two months cost $428, so I am $36.38 short from “riding free for two months a year”.

Interestingly enough, the tax rebate only applies to monthly passes. And while I did not find any statistics, from my personal experience I always see many riders using 10-ride passes on the GO train. Some of them work part time, some of them drive in from time to time, in some months (vacation etc) the monthly pass is more expensive and some cannot afford the huge upfront expense of a monthly pass. Now the tax rebate should of course especially help the latter, but they are not eligible.

And yes, all of this just to save our “irreplaceable environment”. I know that the conservatives are very concerned about our environment. After all they quietly canceled some of the retro-fitting rebates for making houses more energy efficient before putting their “new and improved” programs in place.

While we are talking about the environment and Kyoto comes to mind: How the Liberals thought TV ads could convince everyone to save enough energy to fulfill the commitments in the international agreement we signed. Right, because we just need to watch an ad on TV in order to be convinced to cut our energy consumption. How about asking the big cooperations to curb their pollution a little as well?

Talking about pollution, politics and energy, I cannot afford to forget the mind-boggling ads of the Canadian Nuclear Association. Yes, Nuclear Energy is an “important part of Canada’s Energy Mix“. An important part that IMHO we should phase out ASAP. But hey, while we had plans all along to get rid of the dirty coal (which could have been a lot cleaner with the proper filters), the politicians just forgot(?) to make arrangements on how to replace the missing energy let alone considering any increased energy needs.

So Nuclear Energy is “clean – reliable – affordable“. Actually the TV ad was without the word “clean” for a while, so I assumed someone had ordered them to stop this message. But no, it’s back in the ad. So please explain to me how something that leaves waste that radiates it’s surroundings for centuries to come, could possibly considered “clean“? I don’t get it.