R&D not usually an election topic

The politicians are crafting finely tuned, voter inducement packages – I could be wrong but it seems to me that this election is even more precise in its targeting niche voters than in previous years.  For example, the Liberals are offering a tax break for volunteer firefighters and the Tories have singled out seniors for a lifetime property tax assessment freeze.

That last one is a stroke of genius.  Seniors vote at a rate of something like 85% – compared to young people at 30%.   Everyone likes the gravy train.

An old time Progressive Conservative organizer told me the parties have learned from Stephen Harper who did a masterful job at segmentation of voters and then targeted those he was most likely to win with goodies – like the carpenter toolbox tax credit or the hockey dad tax credit. 

You must remember that – it was fascinating.  The federal Tories had no chance (in their analysis) of winning urban young women – so no goodies for them.  But they did see an opening among self-employed women – presto – EI eligibility.

Anyway, I guess that’s probably better than the old days when voters were bribed with beer or when they were told to “vote early and vote often”.

One thing is for sure, R&D is never a serious hot button issue during an election.  Maybe the 2,690 PHDs in New Brunswick are not enough to waste time trying to court their votes.

But I did read that David Alward says the level of federal investment n RD& in Atlantic Canada is “insufficient.”

That’s actually not entirely correct.  Nova Scotia is the third highest recipient of federal R&D dollars among the provinces (per capita).  It’s New Brunswick that has the distinction of being dead last in Canada.

I think that the word ‘insufficient’ covers it.

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4 Responses to R&D not usually an election topic

  1. richard says:

    ” probably better than the old days when voters were bribed with beer ”

    Surely not beer! In Carleton county at least, it was rum.

    I guess the Harperite approach follows from their belief that there is no public good, just a bunch of private goods.

    R&D in this country is largely a public expenditure; the private sector seems to expect the taxpayer to pay the costs to produce new business opportunities for them. Because the community is so small, you can expect that R&D will be on the chopping block when the cuts start coming. It has already started federally; after the election we will see it here as well. It won’t be announced publically; just a ratcheting down of GNB investment in universities and other research orgs.

  2. Mike in Calgary says:

    The freezing of property tax assessments for seniors is absolutely ridiculous. I know why they do that – old people vote. However, the shortsightedness of this is symptomatic of the screwed up thinking in NB. If anyone should have property tax frozen, it is the younger people.

    However, it gets me thinking about how the impact that property tax has on one’s personal net worth.

    I grew up in NB and was educated in NB. I am in my thirties and in a professional occupation. We (wife/baby/me) used to live in NB. Our house in Quispamsis was in a typical middle class neighhourhood and could be found just about anywhere in Canada. It was assessed at $140,000, and we paid property taxes of around $2000 per year.

    We did all we could to stay in NB but our circumstances changed. In 2007 we moved to Calgary. We bought a similar middle class house in a Calgary suburb, paying $470,000. This is not a fancy neighbourhood. The people around us have the same kinds of typical jobs as the people around us in Quispam. Fortunately when we bought the housing bubble had mostly burst and prices were down dramatically. My income also increased moving here.

    The 2010 property tax on our $470,000 Calgary house is $2300. Yes, 2300! – virtually the same as what we paid on our $140,000 Quispamsis house. I was shocked by this when we moved to Calgary.

    If we had the tax rates that you have in NB, I figure that our Calgary house would be worth about $250,000 because the property taxes are factored into the value of the asset. This extra $220,000 would ultimately come out of my net worth. This means that I have less and the government has more.

    Do not underestimate the impact that taxes have on your assets and the economy.

  3. richard says:

    “The 2010 property tax on our $470,000 Calgary house is $2300.”

    When I lived in ON, we had a suburban house that was valued around $250K; the property taxes (excluding water and sewer charges, which in some localities are incl in prop tax) were abt 3K. That is almost double the prop tax I am paying now in NB.

  4. mikel says:

    It’s VERY difficult to make cross provincial comparisons on property tax.
    Our home’s resale value is now around $320,000, however, that is not nearly our ASSESSED value (assessed is MUCH lower). We pay $2600 in property taxes, which is only about $500 more than my parents in Oromocto pay.
    This does NOT include water and sewage, although they may be partly subsidized. Unlike most of Ontario, our taxes go to both a City government AND a Regional government. The majority goes to the regional government, and it should be kept in mind that our property tax also covers regional public education, which isn’t the case in New Brunswick (I’m pretty sure).
    The two level model is something that Finn sort of looks at, but only includes water and sewage in the second ‘tier’. Two levels of government is something that may well make such amalgamation more desirable for those in LSD’s, IF they can keep control of certain resources and policies.
    A ‘typical’ home in Moncton is assessed at 140 grand, and will pay $2300, and of that cost I don’t think ANY goes toward public education, whereas here it is our biggest expense.

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