It is said that “Charity begins at home” but in this case the charity begins in the House, the Legislative Assembly.
The government of Manitoba, in an effort at fiscal restraint, has frozen the pay of members of the legislature. Unfortunately, there is legislation in the province which mandates certain increases in the salaries.
The government caucus' solution to this quandary was to have all members reimburse the province the amount of the increase. In return, each member of the caucus is getting a charitable tax receipt for the amount of the reimbursement.
An official with the Finance Department says the province is an eligible recipient of charitable donations according to provincial legislation.
But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it. And this is something the caucus in Manitoba should definitely not be doing.
The issuing of charitable donation tax receipts for the money returned to the provincial treasury is an abuse of the charitable donations policy. In no way or form can a provincial government be considered a charity. (Non-profit maybe with the debts so many are carrying, but certainly not a charity)
Any funds returned to the province have gone into the general funds and provide no tangible benefit to anyone.
If the caucus members want to get a tax credit for a charitable donation they should accept the “unwanted” increase and make a donation or donations in a similar amount to a local charity. I am sure there are many across Manitoba that could benefit from such donations. Much good work could be accomplished at no additional costs to the caucus members.
The actions of the governing caucus members is nothing but a fraud and should be called out immediately.
Now does anyone know how a similar situation might be handled here?
I'd love to know.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.