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The home reno tax credit – supporting the sturdy, glossy envelope industry since 2009!

stephen_harper_prime_ministerIt is really easy to see what the Harperite’s cornerstone will be for the next election campaign.  Oodles of dollars are being used by the CPC trumpeting their Economic (In) Action Plan. The ship of state is being calmly steered through the economic malaise with your good Captain Stevo at the helm… ably assisted by his wacky crew.

I don’t watch a lot of TV but I saw the ad for this the other day.  The home renovation tax credit is the centerpiece of the cornerstone in this instance. This is completely expected as the ReformCon script always calls for simple messages targeted at their weak points – electorally speaking. What better way to sell the Harper brand than by putting some coin back in the pockets of young, middle to upper middle class home-owners?

At least this is what the ad says to me.

All that aside, what struck me about this was the prominent use of the Big Green Envelope that can be used to store all of those receipts for the new brickwork, water heaters and bidets.  Hey, it’s not like we needed those trees  anyway, right?

Here’s a partial pic of one of those envelopes… best I could find.


Now, here’s my reckonin’. The ReformCons will never pass a policy / take up a position / take a crap unless there is some political gain to be had. Yeah, yeah, yeah… they ALL to this to a certain degree – that’s politics. But I am still of the mind that the CPC has this principle as the overriding deal makers or killer. If it doesn’t score us political points, then we ain’t doin’ it. Period. The other parties take political gains into consideration but I am yet to be convinced that the cynicism is as deep as in the meanderings of the Harperites.

So if we take as given the envelope and the campaign around it as a purely political move, then what happens next?

The envelopes will be made available to “home improvement” retailers this fall. My Mom, for example, can go to her Home Hardware Building Centre, buy a new sink and ask the cashier for one of these handy-dandy envelopes to store it in. She takes her rather sturdily-made (at least it seems sturdy – and heavy… glossy too – by the looks of it) home and stores all of the rest of her receipts for the tax year.

Then it is that wonderful time of the year where we file our taxes. I do mine electronically, but my Mom (or anyone’s Mom) likes to do them long-hand (By the way Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m not really talking about you… just using you as a hypothetical example…love you!).

And after carefully doing the additions and subtraction and having carefully stored all of those receipts in that wonderfully-made envelope, what does she you do now?

Why she mails that sturdy package to the government for processing, of course. Yes, she knows that you need only produce your receipts on request. At least that is how things were done in the past. But this sturdy envelope looks so official. Has that nice flag in the corner and everything. Surely I am meant to send it back! Why would the government give me something like this and not expect me to use it? That wouldn’t make any sense at all, would it?

Hey – maybe Mom should take the sturdy, glossy envelope back to Home Hardware?

My observations are as follows:

  • A lot of tax payer $$$ was put into the design and production of these politically motivated sturdy and glossy envelopes.
  • A lot of tax payer $$$ will be spent distributing them to the retailers… postage and courier costs will be sky-high.
  • Tax payers will likely send them back to the government along with their cheques or claims for rebates… and the government folks who receive them won’t know what to do with them… et voilà – landfill fodder!
  • Retailers will be confused when folks bring their receipts back to the store.
  • And, knowing the CPC, they won’t stop at simply making them available at the retail level; they will target some borderline ridings with just the right demographics and do a wee bit of a direct mail. So, if you see a big, sturdy, glossy envelope in your mailbox this fall, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  • How many of these sturdy, glossy envelopes might we expect to be distributed? Hard to say for sure, but I figure there are at least 50 “national retail establishments and their affiliates where home renovation products are sold” (the CRA’s description) here in Ottawa, and that’s conservative. So, that’s about 1 for every 16,000 people in the City. Extrapolate to Canada and you get about 2,125 outlets. The Harperites spare no expense when it comes to matters political, so pencil in 1,000 envelopes per store. That’s 160,000 sturdy, glossy pieces of political paper. I just ordered quite a few thousand brochures to be printed and they cost about 20 cents per brochure. Given that these envelopes are undoubtedly of higher quality stock and almost definitely heavier… with glue and stuff to hold everything together, I’ll estimate the production of these to be about 50 cents per. That’s 80K to produce. Add about 2 bucks a pop to distribute them and you get a grand total of :


And that is before advertising costs, outreach, help lines, etc. And before the costs associated with the (I’m presuming) distribution to targeted ridings.

In short, once again we are seeing the real costs of the Harper’s government approach to governing. All politics all the time and damn the bank account!

Thanks Steve!


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  1. trashee says:

    Not saying the Grits, Dippers or Bloquists don’t do it. ..just saying that with the CPC, it is ALL they do.

  2. Ken says:

    Of course it’s opportunism. All economic policies these days are veiled in opportunism. Much like the Liberal plan to make EI “better”. Doesn’t matter what the packaging is.

    To say that the CPC is the only party that’s doing it right now is, well, silly.

  3. trashee says:

    Ya! The guy on the grassy knoll filled out the work order!

    No conspiracy here – just political opportunism.

  4. Ken says:

    You like looking for conspiracies where none exist, don’t ya 😉

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