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NEWS RELEASE · 27th September 2010
MP Nathan Cullen
Two young students from northern British Columbia joined MP Nathan Cullen in Ottawa today to ask parliamentarians to consider tax incentives the students say will make Canada a safer and more caring country.

Smithers residents Emily Hobley McCosker and Justin Steenhof will watch Cullen present their winning entries in the Create Your Canada contest into the House of Commons as private member’s bills this afternoon.

“It’s really exciting to see the creative and practical ideas that our young people have to make our already privileged lives in Canada even better,” said Cullen.

Emily, 11, a student at Muheim Memorial Elementary, proposed a federal bill that would modify tax law to allow individuals to donate a portion of their Income Tax Return to a registered charity by filling out a new section on their tax forms. The amount would then be paid directly to the charity by Canada Revenue Agency.

“By checking off the humanitarian tax box on your tax form, you can easily help to share your good fortune and care for others less fortunate,” said Emily, 11.

Bulkley Valley Christian School student Justin Steenhof wants to encourage ski resort operators to make responsible safety choices by providing branding and pricing incentives. He proposed resorts be certified by the Minister of State for Sport as a “Head Smart Ski and Snowboard Facility” and be permitted to exempt skiers and boarders wearing helmets from paying HST/GST on their ski passes and equipment rentals.

“We know that the leading death factor for skiers is head injury,” said Justin, 17. “We can significantly cut down on the amount of head injuries and death related to head injuries if downhill skiers and snowboarders just all wore helmets.”

While in Ottawa, Cullen and the students also met with Harry Zarins, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Canada, Jack Layton and the NDP caucus, and MPs from other parties. The students held their own press conference in the National Press Theatre and toured Parliament with their MP.

Cullen launched Create Your Canada last year to challenge students in Grades 5-12 to write a piece of federal legislation to improve Canada. Winners are flown to Ottawa to watch Cullen introduce their bills in Parliament. MPs in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa also ran contests.