Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko

Making military spending optional

Alex Atamenenko introduced a bill Tuesday that aims to put more power in the hands of the taxpayer

Ever thought your tax dollars could be spent more wisely? BC Southern Interior Member of Parliament, Alex Atamenenko, introduced a bill Tuesday that aims to put more power in the hands of the taxpayer, allowing them to decide what their tax contribution is spent towards.

It’s called Bill C-363 and it seeks to give conscientious objectors the right to prevent their tax dollars from going to the military.

“There is a number of people who have been calling for this,” said Atamanenko.

“They don’t like necessarily having their portion of the tax dollars going to military and they feel like there should be a way of getting their taxes to be spent on non-violent alternatives.”

The local MP said in a press release that having the ability to register with Revenue Canada as a conscientious objector to war and direct some of your tax money towards promoting peace in the world lies at the very heart of what democracy is about.

“Those tax dollars would go to a special fund and then they would be marked to be spent on any non-military peace-building purposes, so it’s not just taking money away from the military, but those tax dollars would then go to build and promote peace,” said Atamanenko.

“That’s a pretty important step I think.”

Atamanenko said it’s a long process and so far the bill has only been presented in first reading.

“The major goal is to put this idea forward… the government — if it were to choose so — could take this bill tomorrow, give it a different name, number and move it through. They have the option of moving as much legislation through as they want, so it provides the opportunity to do it.”

The Castlegar-based MP said the success of the bill depends on how much people are in support and how many letters are written in response to it, but is sure that those he is representing would support such an idea.

“There’s a lot of folks in our area that are involved in the peace movement and they would like to see something like this go through.”

 

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