Victoria-area MP tees off for golf courses

Playing golf with clients is a legitimate business expense: Garrison

Jeff Calderwood

Jeff Calderwood

Non-golfer Randall Garrison wants a day on the links to be a business write-off.

Last week the NDP MP from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca introduced a private members’ bill that adds golf to the list of activities that can be written off on one’s taxes. Bowling and attending NHL games are allowable, he says, so golfing should be, too.

“There are 10 golf courses in my riding. More than 1,000 people are employed by golf courses here,” Garrison said, adding that more than one-third of them are students.

In the past, golf was an allowable business expense, but it was removed with yachting and hunting.

“At that time it was only something the rich would do,” Garrison said.

Times have changed, however. Since 1998, more Canadians over 15 play golf than any other sport.

“I think this is excellent. If passed it will really help the golf industry,” said Randy Frank, general manager of Olympic View Golf Club.

Golf is ideal for making business connections, he added. “You’re out there for four hours in a peaceful environment with no interruptions.”

Jeff Calderwood, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada, is thrilled by the proposed bill.

Not being able to write off a round with a client has hurt his industry, he said.

“If you are a business person, you don’t want to take a client to a place that you can’t write off. The Income Tax Act is not supposed to be penalizing any industry.”

While private members’ bills rarely become legislation as they are introduced, Garrison holds out hope that his proposal will move quickly through Parliament.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

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