R16: Family Status

I’m posting on the reasons I won’t vote for Stephen Harper and his party:

This post is at least partially an explanation of the yesterday’s (Bowles, 2015), in which I claimed a certain degree of discrimination with regard to Mr. Harper and his government with respect to family status. The fact is that today, there are many different forms of family: of people living together in a variety of relationships in which they commit one to another for a period of time. My difficulty with Harper is that he sees only one primary form of “family”: a husband and a wife, with 2.3 (or, in Harper’s eyes, preferably more) children. He knows that he cannot legislate that kind of family, but he’s doing his best to encourage it in other ways. Such as building it into the tax code. Income splitting, the subject of yesterday’s post, is one example. I’ll admit I don’t have a huge problem with it in theory: that is how we filed our taxes when I was married to my wife and living in Pennsylvania. It’s common in the U.S. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to marry my husband, so that we could “share” each others tax burdens. Imagine my surprise when I returned to my home country and discovered I still couldn’t: not because of my spouse, but because of my lack of children. I believe that is discrimination based on family status (Ontario Human Rights Comission).

The ironic thing for us, in particular, is that my husband earns less than I do (making income splitting a potential benefit), because of his choices. The reason for his lower earnings is that he is a caregiver for my mother, who lives at home with dementia. So we’re still involved with family (that elusive family definition); it’s just not the kind of “involvement” that Harper considers “worthy”.

From the CBC (2014): “But what about hard-working, single adults? Nope, no benefits for you. Childless couples where one has lost his or her job? Move on, nothing to see. Loving gay and lesbian couples? Well, maybe if you have children, but otherwise nope. And since most gay and lesbian couples have no children, is this policy specifically designed to be discriminatory? Oh, and of course, the breadwinner must make an income sufficiently high to be able to transfer $50,000 to his spouse. So you gotta be rich too!”

Harper lost his battle for the definition of a “family” when Canada’s Supreme Court allowed for same sex marriage. But that doesn’t mean he has to like it: nor that he has to make it easy for those of us who are living our lives as God intended rather than how the PM dictates. He knows that we’re a minority. So he gives tax breaks to everyone else. We can live as we believe we were meant to, but Harper doesn’t have to make it easy.

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