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Canada’s Wonderland: DIMENSIONS – a Cirque Experience Preview.


An Urban Daddy exclusive peek into Canada Wonderland’s new show, DIMENSIONS – A Cirque Experience by Senior Event Correspondent Ryan Starkman.

 

Here I am reporting from Canada’s Wonderland on June 20th, 2014. A beautiful sunny day has us readying for a bit of a cool down and we are awaiting entrance into the Wonderland Theatre for a sneak preview of DIMENSIONS – A Cirque Experience.

Having just met Jill Aitchison (Digital Community & Events Specialist at Canada’s Wonderland), we were warmly greeted and entered the cozy 800 seat Wonderland theatre excited and ready to be entertained.

First come first serve seating gave us, the early birds, a chance to catch the worm so to speak. Sightlines from the middle two sections are good. As you move to the left or right flanks of the theatre, the angles are noticeable but still appropriate enough to view.

The theatre only runs 19 rows deep so you’re never really too far back and the first 3 rows have your eye level just below the stage. We decided to sit in the 4th row right off the centre aisle. About 20 minutes prior to showtime, a pair of theatrical veterans entertained the audience in Cirque-like fashion. For those that don’t know what this means, it just means you want to be seated by the time the pre-show begins.

Without introducing any spoilers as to the various acts, this is a fantastic 25 minute performance and the perfect way to break away from the bustle of the outside theme park. Having seen just about every show Wonderland has to offer the past 20+ something years, this ranks right up as one of the best.

The show keeps you entertained from start to finish with not a weak act in the bunch. Some comedic interludes help lighten this high energy performance. The skilled acrobats and performers are world class with the majority coming from Canada.

About 25% of the cast come from outside Canadian borders hailing from countries around the world including the United States and Cambodia.

The production company behind DIMENSIONS is Les Productions Haut-vol which stems from the collaborative efforts of Quebec natives Joel Norton and Hugues Aubrey. This masterful pair have an extensive background in performance and have brought to Canada’s Wonderland an amazing program.

Prior to the show beginning, I asked my 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter if they were excited to see the show. The nod of approval was given. Upon its conclusion, my son wanted to see it immediately again, especially one act in particular he thought was really cool. My daughter was nervous for the performers as some of the acts were quite thrilling but said she wanted to come back another day.

And the best part about that comment is with us being season pass holders, we definitely would.

In terms of ways to spend your time at Canada’s Wonderland, this show should rank as one of the best in terms of time invested vs. entertainment value. Having been to the park since 1981 and waiting in lines for rides, some longer than I ever want to think about again, DIMENSIONS will not disappoint. You get a Cirque Experience for 30 minutes that costs nothing more than your time.

This is a no brainer if you like that type of thing and just another way that Canada’s Wonderland is bringing new DIMENSIONS to overall park entertainment.

When Did They Get To Be So Big. So Devious!


The other night I fell asleep on the couch. Again. Not surprising either, since it’s tax season, I’m super-busy up late working away (not complaining!) and with a steady flow of children who want to see/talk to/sleep with mummy, I wouldn’t be sleeping anyways.

At some point in the night – I think between 1am and 4am – I dozed off, with the TV on, and my laptop still on my lap when one of my children came downstairs, grabbed my iPhone, logged in using my password, snapped a picture of me and then sent it to my sister via text or BBM.

Of course, the next day they all denied it.

I would never have known had my sister not sent me the picture back.

Time for better passwords!

Or an electric fence.

#Parenting
#WatchYourBack

Support the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition: Stop Chow Now!


In case you missed it, I wanted to share with you a startling and shocking bit of news about the size and cost of municipal governments and their workforce. While we are paying more and more taxes, they are getting bigger and bigger and richer and richer. Doesn’t sound right now, does it?

A newly released study put out by Western University professor Timothy Cobban reveals that since 1995’s amalgamation, local government in Ontario has swollen by 39%!

Here are some more sobering facts made available by the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition;

  • In 1995 Ontario had 160,000 municipal employees, today there are 270,000 – an increase of 110,000.
  • Spending on municipal wages and salaries has increased almost fourfold – from less than $200 million in 1981 to $750 million today!
  • Ontario has only 38% of Canada’s population, yet 43% of the country’s municipal workforce.

Clearly, amalgamation, despite all the promises to the contrary has failed to deliver smaller, more efficient government.  Even the mere talk of closing or downsizing locally resulted in attack after attack on Rob Ford for being uneducated and hating libraries, for example.  It can’t be done if no one wants to admit there is duplication and waste, but then again it cannot continue to operate this way in the red…

So what went wrong?

Well for one thing, the merging of collective bargaining units meant compensation was harmonized upwards to the highest salaries and benefits for that position.

In fact, according to a Toronto Taxpayers Coalition analysis, the number of Toronto municipal employees earning $100,000 or more grew by an astounding 30% – from 5481 up to 7123 – in a single year.

Also, the layers of middle management in general administration positions were often duplicated

The bottom line from all this is obvious: local government is too big, too costly and too burdensome.

And brace yourself for some more bad news.

If Olivia Chow and her left wing NDP pals take control of the Toronto government in the next municipal election, things are guaranteed to get worse.

Much worse.

That’s why we need, more than ever, to stand up and promote the idea of smaller government and lower taxes.

We need a strong voice to offset the union bosses, the media and other assorted left wing groups who will be helping to push Chow’s big spending, high tax agenda while taking aim at the Fiscally Conservative candidates.

The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition will be that voice!

Indeed, they are already making a difference in Toronto politics, former Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday recently had this to say about them:

“The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is a great organization, one that we sorely needed here a long time ago. Increases in taxes and an increases in spending by the Toronto council has gone on for so long that it’s a shame a group like this wasn’t in place to try to maybe put a stop to it earlier on.”

But we will to step up it up a notch for the next election and do even more.  You can help make sure the Taxpayers’ Coalition has the resources it will need to be a force in the next municipal election.

How?

Lots of ways. You can host fundraisers for us; you can introduce our group to your friends and business associates; you can volunteer your time, and of course you can contribute to our special municipal election fund.

But whatever you do, you need to help soon. The election is only months away, and the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition is already putting together a budget for a special “Stop Chow Now” campaign, to get out the message to voters, to expose and oppose the ruinous policies of Chow and the NDP.

That will be costly. Running an effective media campaign always is.

I’m hoping you will help, because I know you share my belief that Toronto can do better, and that we must do better. I also know that you’re willing to fight for what’s right!

So I’m asking you to donate $10, $25, $100, $500, or more to help “Stop Chow Now.”

Or better yet, sign up to make a monthly contribution automatically – it takes less than a minute to set up.

Whatever you donate, please make it the most generous contribution you can afford.

Together you and I, along with all the other Taxpayer Coalition supporters, can make a difference.

Thanks in advance for your support.

 

P.S. Thanks to forced dues and government funding, bug union bosses and special interest groups have lots of money to help Chow and the NDP. The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition relies on voluntary support. We rely on you and your generosity. Help us Stop Chow in 2014. Donate today.

Olivia Chow + Mayor + Toronto = Terrible Weather + High Taxes + Out of Control Spending


I don’t think there is any coincidence whatsoever that the day MP Olivia Chow announces that she wishes to resign her seat with the Federal Government of Canada, to run for Mayor of Toronto that the beautiful weather here in Toronto went from 11 degrees above 0 to 25 degrees below zero.mayor candidates

Understanding that current Mayor Rob Ford is a bit of a… Where to start… Sideshow, to immediately think that his political views are no longer needed in Toronto would be a huge misrepresentation of the truth.

Considering candidate John Tory (a Liberal by affiliation, and fiscal conservative) said that Ford is correct that there is a lot of wasted spending which needs to be reeled in, it would therefore make reasonable sense that a typical left-wing mandate of spend, tax and spend more, would bankrupt this city.

As much as I like Karen Stintz, she can help the right-wing causes (she’s right of centre fiscally and left of centre socially) by taking aim at Chow right away. We already know how she feels about Ford and she worked on Tory’s campaign in the past.

There is also an 18-year-old running whom I saw on TV, and it’s great that the youth want to be included in the process, but Mayor is not a realistic goal when she appears to think the solution to transit woes, and high taxes and over-priced real estate is to ask – no demand – that the Provincial government and Federal government give Toronto more money.

Umm, that money is tax money and while I’m happy you earned some babysitting, if the other governments are going to give more to Toronto that means either raising taxes, or cutting spending.

My hand is up for cutting spending. Wasteful spending only please.  Please no one mention libraries or books, or Margaret Atwood, or she’ll register to run too…

Someone should also tell her that in fact everyone does pay property taxes, whether owning or renting, as it’s included in rent too.

But with all that being said, the most important thing to take out of this post, is that with this election coming and all the fuss about the Fords, there are elected representatives sitting in Toronto City council who run by their own agenda and are not accountable to you, the voter.

I found, then lost, a pie chart showing the voting patterns of City Councillors since Ford was elected and there are about 5 of them who voted against the Mayor on each and every issue without fail.

If in 3-years these councillors could not find one issue to side with the Mayor on, then who are clearly not serving you, who elected them. Other councillors found common ground, but without fail some councillors just see something brought forward by the Mayor and vote against it without giving it any further thought.

Imagine if they were Mayor, and council was on the right of centre politically and every time they brought forward a motion it was voted against without fail…

They would be crying to every paper possible about council not wanting to work with them, and about a hidden agenda.

Talk to your councillor now. Ask them for their citing record and see if they truly represent your views for the city of Toronto, or if it’s time for them to find another job.

Oh, and day 2 with Chow in the race… Still looking bleak. On all fronts.

Tax Freedom Day – For Canadian Corporations is Today, January 30th.


English: Tax rates around the world: Corporate...

Corporate Tax Freedom Day, or the day that corporations will have paid their taxes to all levels of government, is today, January 30th, 2013.  But don’t feel left out, if you are not a corporation, because Personal Tax Freedom Day is also on its way – not as quickly mind you because Corporations have the ability to make much more money, much quicker than the average employee and the Corporate tax rates are considerably smaller than personal income tax rates.

From the CRA;
  • 15% on the first $43,561 of taxable income, +
  • 22% on the next $43,562 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $43,561 up to $87,123), +
  • 26% on the next $47,931 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $87,123 up to $135,054), +
  • 29% of taxable income over $135,054.

Then there are the Provincial tax rates;

Provincial/territorial tax rates (combined chart)
Provinces/territories Rate(s)
Newfoundland and Labrador 7.7% on the first $33,748 of taxable income, + 12.5% on the next $33,748, + 13.3% on the amount over $67,496
Prince Edward Island 9.8% on the first $31,984 of taxable income, + 13.8% on the next $31,985, + 16.7% on the amount over $63,969
Nova Scotia 8.79% on the first $29,590 of taxable income, + 14.95% on the next $29,590, + 16.67% on the next $33,820, + 17.5% on the next $57,000, + 21% on the amount over $150,000
New Brunswick 9.1% on the first $38,954 of taxable income, + 12.1% on the next $38,954, + 12.4% on the next $48,754, + 14.3% on the amount over $126,662
Quebec Go to Income tax rates (Revenu Québec Web site).
Ontario 5.05% on the first $39,723 of taxable income, + 9.15% on the next $39,725, + 11.16% on the next $429,552, + 13.16 % on the amount over $509,000
Manitoba 10.8% on the first $31,000 of taxable income, + 12.75% on the next $36,000, + 17.4% on the amount over $67,000
Saskatchewan 11% on the first $42,906 of taxable income, + 13% on the next $79,683, + 15% on the amount over $122,589
Alberta 10% of taxable income
British Columbia 5.06% on the first $37,568 of taxable income, + 7.7% on the next $37,570, + 10.5% on the next $11,130, + 12.29% on the next $18,486, + 14.7% on the amount over $104,754
Yukon 7.04% on the first $43,561 of taxable income, + 9.68% on the next $43,562, + 11.44% on the next $47,931, + 12.76% on the amount over $135,054
Northwest Territories 5.9% on the first $39,453 of taxable income, + 8.6% on the next $39,455, + 12.2% on the next $49,378, + 14.05% on the amount over $128,286
Nunavut 4% on the first $41,535 of taxable income, + 7% on the next $41,536, + 9% on the next $51,983, + 11.5% on the amount over $135,054
Canadian Corporate Tax rates for 2013 are;
The basic rate of Part I tax is 38% of taxable income, 28% after federal tax abatement.

For Canadian-controlled private corporations claiming the small business deduction, the net tax rate is 11%.

For the other corporations, the net tax rate is decreased as follows:

  • 19% effective January 1, 2009
  • 18% effective January 1, 2010
  • 16.5% effective January 1, 2011
  • 15% effective January 1, 2012

Provincial or territorial rates

Generally, provinces and territories have two rates of income tax – a lower rate and a higher rate.

Lower rate

The lower rate applies to the income eligible for the federal small business deduction. One component of the small business deduction is the business limit. Some provinces or territories choose to use the federal business limit. Others establish their own business limit.

Higher rate

The higher rate applies to all other income.

Provincial and territorial tax rates (except Quebec and Alberta)

The following table shows the income tax rates for provinces and territories (except Quebec and Alberta, which do not have corporation tax collection agreements with the CRA).

These rates are in effect on January 1, 2012, and may change during 2012.

Province or territory Lower rate Higher rate
Newfoundland and Labrador 4% 14%
Nova Scotia 4% 16%
Prince Edward Island 1% 16%
New Brunswick 4.5% 10%
Ontario 4.5% 11.5%
Manitoba nil 12%
Saskatchewan 2% 12%
British Columbia 2.5% 10%
Yukon 4% 15%
Northwest Territories 4% 11.5%
Nunavut 4% 12%

For more information, go to Dual tax rates.

Corporations also have to pay the CRA employer share of payroll source deductions for the year for employee pay and bonuses as well as any GST/HST if they are selling more than they are purchasing and also don’t forget the dividends Corporations pay out of earning to you, your friends, neighbours, parents and grandparents.

If you read some of the mainstream, err, left-leaning media tales of Corporate Tax Freedom Day you would think that we should be taxing these evil Corporations at 50% or more because all they do is pay out insane salaries and bonuses to their CEO’s and Board or Directors while giving little back to the community or the country.

For all that, I call bullshit, and not because I agree with insane salaries, bonuses, buyouts and golden handshakes – I hate them in sports and entertainment as well – but Corporations are free to operate in whichever town, city, province or country they choose to and a raise in Corporate tax rates increases the risk that corporations will back up their belongings and flee where rates are more favourable.

So while it’s great to call out Corporations for all their flaws, it would be nice once in a while if mainstream media reported on those cities and towns left with high unemployment and no jobs because a Corporation propping up their area closed up or left for a different location.

Now there are some legitimate arguments around how accountable Canadian Corporations should be and what they do with their reserves, especially in light of the recessionary times we currently live in, and by holding on to these reserves in case the economy worsens, Corporations are keeping a nest age they hope to not have to dip in to, but this “dead money” may never see the light of day when the economy picks back up and it gets swallowed up as profits or paid out as a bonus when it should be put to work right away to invest in Canada and create jobs.

Might there be other ways to increase government revenues so that the government will need to borrow less money to finance programs – driving up the debt and deficit – possibly.  One suggestion by the head of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Ken Georgetti, suggested that “the government should target tax credits to companies that invest in  machinery and increase productivity.”

With Canadian Corporate taxes are already lower than (unconfirmed) elsewhere in the G7 nations, organizations like the CLC disregard the fact that business investment had increased by 6.2% since the official start of the recession, September 15th, 2008.  If consumer confidence remains weak or if a Liberal government were to take power in Canada, look for the vultures to circle looking to pick through the remains of any and all Canadian Corporations which remain here after an increase in the Corporate Tax Rate.