OTTAWA – Health groups combined all the opposition to accuse the government of attempting to raise tax revenue on the backs of diabetics and forces.
The accusation opened a new front in the ongoing opposition-waged warfare on government taxation policy, amid the background of this conflict-of-interest controversy dogging over Finance Minister Bill Morneau whether he is properly distanced himself.
Diabetes Canada was among the bands that joined politicians to openly denounce what they state is a clawback of a disability tax credit to assist them manage a disease that may cost the average sufferer $15,000 annually.
Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre branded it as an additional instance of an Liberal government that he characterized as targeting the middle class people it claims to support.
“His tax department attempted to tax the worker discounts of waitresses and cashiers. Now his administration is targeting vulnerable individuals afflicted by diabetes with tens of thousands of dollars in tax increases,” Poilievre said on Sunday in a Parliament Hill news conference flanked by fellow Conservative critics, a young diabetic constituent along with a leading official with a major diabetes advocacy company.
In May, the revenue section ceased approving a disability tax credit for those who have Type 1 diabetes for people who had previously claimed it, he explained.
People who want more than 14 hours per week for insulin treatment, and also had a physician’s certification. This spring, however, besides mentioning a spike in applications for the benefit, the government offered no explanation during interactions, said Kimberley Hanson of Diabetes Canada.
Thousands of claimants from across Canada who had previously been awarded the $1,500 annual benefit have been rejected in recent months, however Hanson said she can not get an specific number from Canadian Revenue Agency and has needed to submit an Access to Information request to learn.
For the most part, the agency officials and Minister Diane Lebouthillier have recently rebuffed their overtures.
“Within the past two months, she has stopped responding to my own messages and answering a few of my questions,” Hanson said, speaking to one senior department official.
A senior department officer reached out for her to reopen dialogue, she explained. Poilievre explained that happened because the Conservatives raised the issue during Question Period.
The office of the minister did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
“Applicants are now being denied based on that ‘the type of treatment indicated doesn’t fulfill the 14 hour per week standards.’ These denials are in contradiction of these certifications offered by licensed medical professionals or seem to be predicated on proof,” says an Oct. 3 letter to Lebouthillier, signed by Diabetes Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and two other organizations.
This newest complaint about the taxation policy of the government stems after the Liberals were made to reset proposed taxation measures after weeks of outspoken opposition from backbench Liberal MPs, physicians, farmers and small business owners.
The Canada Revenue Agency was recently forced to withdraw a note after it caused an uproar, that targeted worker discounts.
“It’s not like I could snap a finger along with this disease turns away,” said Madison Ferguson, a part of Poilievre’s who first raised it with her MP this summer after her claim was rejected.
She stated she has to constantly figure out the impact of what she eats, while monitoring her glucose levels as much as four to ten times each day, using test strips that cost $1.50 to $2 each moment.
“It’s quite pricey but it’s needed because without this I would not be this,” explained Ferguson. “So every second of every day needs to be calculated.”