Something happened this week in the House of Commons to remind me that almost anything?s possible if you refuse to give up. It was a particularly welcome reminder after more than ten years as an opposition Member of Parliament and especially on the eve of an election. It was also an encouraging boost for adoptive parents and children in Canada.
This past Tuesday, by an overwhelming margin of 168 to 50, MPs voted to send my private members bill, C-246, to the Standing Committee on Finance for review. As many of you know, this is one of several pieces of legislation I have personally tabled in the House of Commons since becoming your MP.
It proposes a federal income tax deduction of up to $7,000 for the expenses related to adopting a child. Now, most Private Members? Legislation has a snowball?s chance in ? well, its chances at actually becoming law are very slim.
Traditionally and typically, legislation that has not been tabled by the government, is unlikely to be supported by its MPs, which of course form the majority in the House. While private member?s legislation is supposed to be subject to a free vote, it hasn?t always been apparent as government MPs are reluctant to displease the Prime Minister and the cabinet by bucking party advice.
Yet, I have repeatedly introduced this legislation for an adoption tax deduction, as well as my other private member?s bills, because I believe they are the right thing to do. ues in the House of Commons would agree that our tax system needs to be modernized to recognize adoption as a part of family life in Canada. That they would acknowledge the contribution made by adoptive parents to all of society and that the federal government should be doing everything it can to encourage adoption and alleviate some of the financial stress parents incur.
That day has finally come.
My Conservative Party colleagues support for this bill has been steadfast, and New Democrat and Bloc Quebecois MPs had indicated earlier that they would support the legislation.
However, it was the vote of ?yea? by Liberal backbench MPs that clinched the win. It speaks volumes about the merit, necessity and benefits of Bill C-246 that 71 Liberals would reject the advice of their own Finance Minister and instead choose to endorse my bill.
But ultimately the credit goes to the tireless efforts of Canadians who helped advance this endorsement of adoption. For the past few months, MPs from all parties have been bombarded with e-mails, letters and phone calls requesting they support C-246.
And while I have to accept the unfortunate likelihood that an election call by Paul Martin will derail the progress of this legislation, I will reintroduce it in the next Parliament and I?m buoyed by this latest proof that no matter how futile it may seem at times, exercising your democratic voice can and does make a difference.