Can You Prove Your Love?

Dennis Skley

It’s not like I was looking for more reasons to roll my eyes at Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s “proof of relationship” protocols. (Here’s my rant from June 11.) But after reading today’s front-page story in The Toronto Star, “Proof of love? 532 pages aren’t enough,” I couldn’t help it.

Today’s story: Kurtis Lee Boulianne fell in love with an American teacher, Maria Canella. They submitted a 532-page “proof of relationship” which included “six pages of wedding receipts, 30 pages of wedding photos, 29 pages of cards and love letters, 57 pages of Facebook history, 36 pages of Skype and FaceTime records and 137 pages of iMessage chat logs.”

The feds needed more “proof”, and warned Boulianne and Canella: “Failure to do so could result in the refusal and/or delay of your application.” Anyway, turns out Citizenship and Immigration is not the sharpest knife in the federal cutlery drawer. They had lost Boulianne and Canella’s documentation. All is well now thanks to media intervention.

Anyway, the real point of my post this week (and I’m about to get to that) is that the feds are once again missing the bigger picture. They should be less concerned about non-Canadians getting married to jump the queue–and more worried about couples who are no longer in love but who continue to get a tax break.

I’m no accountant but I know it pays to be married. Working spouses are entitled to marital tax credits if their spouse doesn’t earn money. Married students can transfer their tuition claim to their working spouse. Married couples can pool medical expenses and charitable receipts and direct them to the spouse with the higher income. And let’s not forget income splitting (whatever that is).

Us married couples are making out like bandits.

If we are going to put aspiring Canadians through the wringer to prove their love, shouldn’t we also put the screws to married couples looking to beat the tax man—those who fell out of love long ago and are married only in name?

So, hypothetically speaking, what if a Revenue Canada agent came knocking at your door? What evidence could you produce to prove your love?

-How many flirty emails, sexts, sappy cards, etc. do you exchange in a year? Do they end with “xoxo”?

-How many social outings do you do—together? Can you show a variety of activities that encompass both your interests (vs. only tickets to hockey games, or only tickets to the ballet)?

-What little gifts show you have each other on your minds, all the time? A vase of flowers, a box of chocolates, a knitted sweater?

Maybe if we had to prove our love to get tax breaks, more married couples would try harder. And perhaps that extra effort would make Canadian marriage stronger. This has got to be good social policy. No one wants to fail an audit.

Photo credit: Flickr/Dennis Skley

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