Tory MP attacks tax on curlers

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Canada's curling politician is upset that Revenue Canada is going after a player for money he has made on the cashspiel circuit. Brian Pallister, finance critic for the Conservative party and a competitive curler himself, said Revenue Canada's action is a misplaced priority.

Pallister, who represented Manitoba in the national mixed championship in 2000, contacted The Toronto Sun after reading that Revenue Canada sent Toronto St. George's skip Wayne Middaugh a letter concerning his cashspiel winnings from the past three seasons. Unofficially, Middaugh's team grossed between $300,000 and $400,000.

Pallister, MP for Portage-Lisgar in Manitoba and a member of the federal finance committee, wants some answers.

URGENT PRIORITY?

"I would like to (know) why Revenue Canada would consider this to be such an urgent priority," Pallister said. "One area is to ask the question in the House of Commons. The other is to bring it forward at the finance committee to try and get some specific answers from Revenue Canada.

"They wouldn't be able to answer questions about Wayne Middaugh in a specific sense, but in a general sense if I raise the issue of so-called professional curlers, I may be able to get some answers from them that way."

Curlers aren't required to pay taxes on their winnings for the same reason they aren't allowed to claim expenses on their losses, he said.

"It's kind of like gambling in a way and I don't think Revenue Canada has gone after gambling," Pallister said. "People throw money into the pot in the hopes of getting something out. "If Revenue Canada wants to go after the winnings for the one guy at the table that walks away with the chips, that's great. That would be fine for all the losers because they'll be tax-deducting all they lost."

Pallister contacted Middaugh earlier this week to give him support in his battle against Revenue Canada.

"He's going to the Brier and he should have it in his mind to compete to the best of his ability and he doesn't need this," Pallister said.


Videos

Photos