Jeff Calderwood

Garrison tees off for golf courses

Randall Garrison, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP, wants golf to be a business write off.

Randall Garrison, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP, wants a day on the links to be a business write off.

On Friday, the rookie NDP MP introduced a private member’s bill that adds golf to the list of activities that can be deducted as a business expense. If bowling or attending NHL games can be used as a business expense, Garrison argues 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, noting more than one-third of those employees are students.

If the bill is passed, Garrison said it will help create more jobs on the West Shore and help the economy.

In the past golf was an activity that could be written off, but it was removed with yachting and hunting, Garrison said. “At that time it was only something the rich would do.”

Times have changed and Garrison said golfing is the largest participatory sport in Canada. “More people golf than play hockey or any other sport in Canada.”

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

Frank said golfing is an ideal activity for business connections.

“You are out there for four hours in a peaceful environment with no interruptions,” he said.

Jeff Calderwood, chief executive officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada, is thrilled by the bill.

“Arguably there is no better way to entertain a client than at a golf course,” Calderwood said.

Not being able to write off a round of golf has hurt the industry, he said. “If you are 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 at this point Garrison, who doesn’t golf, has introduced his bill and hopes it moves quickly through Parliament.

“It could be voted in within the year, but the minister of finance could put it in his budget this month if he wanted to,” Garrison said.

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