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FW: Employer Provided Tax Free Transit

Further to my last Email regarding Motion # 360, the following is some
background which may clarify the nature of the motion.  Apologies for any



On April 13th, 1999, the House of Commons passed Motion #360. Please turn
this motion into action by including a tax exemption for employer-provided
transit benefits in youor February 2000 budget statement.  I am one of a
majority of Canadians who believe that it is time for the Federal Government
to help public transportation across Canada. 

Canada is the only OECD country where the national government does not offer
strong financial support for public transportation. A recent Transport
Canada study shows that tax-free transit in Canada could increase transit
ridership by 35%, reduce auto usage by 7.5% and GHG emissions by 4%. This
measure would definitely help Canada meet its Kyoto commitment and level the
playing field with the majority of commuting Canadians who receive free and
non-taxable parking. 

Since tax cuts are popular among many people these days, this would be a
minor one but with major benefits to Canadians with lower than average
income, to the environment and to the quality of life in our cities. 

Al Cormier 

Shaw, Amelia wrote: 

Local Campaign Update 
January 2000 

Last Call to Action Prior to Budget 2000 

The time is drawing near - will TEI be a part of the Year 2000 budget? 
There are no guarantees.  You CAN convince your MP to insist on TEI's 
inclusion, by making one last pre-budget lobby effort.  The latest 
rumour is that the Liberal caucus's pre-budget meeting will be held February

2nd, 2000.  Please take a moment today to fax, phone, or e-mail the Hon. 
Jim Peterson, the Hon. Paul Martin, and the Right Hon. Jean Chretien 
with this simple message: 

"On April 13th, 1999, Motion #360 was passed by the House of Commons. 
Please turn this motion into action.  I am one of the majority of 
Canadians who believe you should make employer provided transit 
benefits, income tax-exempt." 

The Right Hon. Jean Chretien:  Tel: (613) 992-4211   Fax: (613) 
e-mail: pm@pm.gc.ca 
The Hon. Paul Martin:  Tel: (613) 992-4284   Fax: (613) 992-4291 
e-mail:  Martin.P@parl.gc.ca 
The Hon. Jim Peterson:  Tel: (613) 992-4964  Fax: (613) 992-1158 
e-mail:  Peterson.J@parl.gc.ca 

TEI well received by Finance Committee 

On Nov. 25, 1999 the Task Force made a presentation to the House of 
Commons Standing Committee on Finance.  This year we were well received, 
thanks to your efforts at lobbying the MPs on this committee prior to 
the presentation.  MP Paul Szabo commented on the importance of this 
initiative and his support during the House of Commons debates. Transit has 
been included in the standing committee's report, which discusses both 
TEI and infrastructure funding. 

Transportation Issues Table 

This table, part of the National Climate Change Process, has identified 
and analyzed various measures to reduce transportation greenhouse gas 
(GHG) emissions.  It produced an "Options Paper" which will be 
considered by the government as Canada develops its national policy on 
climate change.  TEI heads the list as one of the "most promising" 

The Options Paper will be presented across Canada during the first two 
weeks of February as part of a stakeholder consultation process.  The 
Task Force requested that the following organizations should be included: 
ATU locals, 
transit properties, CLC environment committee members and others.  We need 
representatives at these conferences to support the work of the 
Options Paper, when it comes to their recommendations to support public 

Pollution Probe 

As you all know, Pollution Probe is one of the members of the National 
Task Force to Promote TEI.  In their last issue of "Probabilities", TEI 
was front page news, where members were given the opportunity to 
mail-back a postcard of support. 


Another member of the Task Force, CUTA has recently received a mandate 
from their membership (transit properties and businesses associated with 
transit) to aggressively promote transit to provincial and federal 
levels of government.  Amelia has taken a leave of absence to take on 
the job of Manager of Public Affairs for CUTA.  While Amelia will remain 
heavily involved with TEI, she has expanded her role to advocate for federal

government funding for infrastructure, promoting partnerships to support 
public transit etc. 

Finance Concern's Reduced to Two 

The Hon. Jim Peterson is now responding to letters supporting TEI. In 
case you have not yet received his reply, it has changed substantially 
from the original "Martin Response".  In his letter, Minister Peterson 
that "encouraging the use of public transportation is important - in 
particular as a way of reducing pollution".  However, he continues by saying

his department questions the fairness of allowing a tax-exemption when 
most Canadians must purchase their passes in after-tax income.  As well 
the cost per new rider could be prohibitive as the majority of Canadians 
receiving this benefit will be current transit users. 

While we are pleased to see the list of concerns dwindling to two, we 
plan to once again challenge Mr. Peterson's reasoning when we meet with 
him on February 14th. 

TEI - Momentum that Continues to Build 

It is amazing how people continue to get involved in this issue.  Nelson 
Riis' office is still answering requests for information on Motion 360; 
we continue to hear from individuals and organizations pledging support; 
TEI is mentioned in the media consistently when transit issues and 
climate change is discussed; and we continue to make new contacts in the 
federal government. (Our last meeting included the member of the Privy 
Council responsible for Environment and a Senior Policy Analyst from the 
Prime Minister's Office.) 

We can keep the momentum growing.  Take a minute today to call, fax, or 
e-mail Prime Minister Jean Chretien,  Minister Jim Peterson, Minister Paul 
Martin and 
your own MP. 


Donna-Lynn Ahee and Amelia Shaw 
Project Managers, National Task Force to promote TEI 

Amelia Shaw 
Manager of Public Affairs 
Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) 
1500 St. Laurent Blvd., 
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1G 0Z8 
phone:  (613) 842-3616 
fax:  (613) 230-8425 



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