There have been plenty of bad ideas put in place around these parts over the years that have had a lasting impact on the local community: putting the university out on the highway in the middle of nowhere rather than in a downtown core; pumping raw sewage and toxic waste directly into the downtown harbour where people used to swim only two generations ago; covering up all the buildings in downtown Sydney with vinyl siding in an attempt at economic revitalization. These things seem to happen without anybody questioning them. And once they’re implemented, we are left to deal with the consequences.
So what if someone came up with a good idea that, if acted upon, would have a lasting, positive impact on our community? I admit it sounds pretty far-fetched, and sometimes I have to wonder if we would even recognize a good idea if one came along. Luckily, sometimes we don’t have to recognize it for ourselves. All we have to do is listen to some of the most recognized figures in Cape Breton culture—Mary Morrison and Martin MacKinnon.
“Well, it’s RRSP time again, dear,” says Mary Morrison in a video by Darcy Campbell of Shot on Site Media that’s been making the rounds on the social media circuit. Eking out an existence in the arts and culture world of Cape Breton Island hasn’t really given me much opportunity to think about Registered Retirement Savings Plans. But since Mary Morrison was talking about it, I decided it might be worth looking into.
The way RRSPs work is you put some money in an account somewhere, that money stays there for a specified amount of time (i.e. for your retirement), and the amount of money you put in is deducted from your income which lowers the amount of income tax you have to pay. Or as my accountant friend puts it, “…they give you a tax break now and an income in the future”.
In the video, Mary and Martin MacKinnon are talking about buying into a local RRSP plan managed by New Dawn Enterprises Ltd. through New Dawn Holdings Ltd. According to their website, “New Dawn Holdings Ltd. raises capital through a provincial Equity Tax Credit program called a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). This fund provides community development organizations the ability to raise their own funds. Money raised by New Dawn Holdings Ltd. is loaned to New Dawn Enterprises. This loan, in turn, provides New Dawn Enterprises with capital to grow its existing companies, to launch new businesses and to advance its community building initiatives. Ensuring that young people gain skills to improve their lives, the elderly get the care they deserve and hundreds of others are able to live better lives in their community.” Or as Martin MacKinnon puts it: “What you pay in Cape Breton will stay in Cape Breton.”
Despite the wide-held belief that there’s no money in Cape Breton, Cape Bretoners invest a hundred million dollars in RRSPs every year. More than 98% of that money is invested off-island. Now I can’t help thinking what an impact a hundred million dollar investment would make on Cape Breton Island. But time is getting short. RRSPs must be bought by the end of the tax year which is March 1, which means you’ve got until Monday to take advantage of this opportunity. By doing so, you are not only investing in your future, but also in the future economic development of Cape Breton Island. Plus you get a 35% non-refundable provincial income tax credit.
Sounds like a good idea to me. Visit New Dawn Holdings website for details and small print.