Politicians, often patronizingly, like to talk about how drawing up a country's budget is similar to the process for a family budget. We think that is a stretch. But for the sake of this article we will roll with it.
It can be difficult to see how tax laws themselves can be sources of sex discrimination, but no matter how gender neutral tax laws may be, they are almost never completely gender-equal. In recent years in Canada, it has become very obvious that tax laws play a big role in intensifying the concentration of after-tax incomes and wealth in the hands of the most economically-powerful and thus politically-powerful actors.
Mark your calendar! On Friday, March 3 at 9pm local time, CBC's Fifth Estate will broadcast a documentary that is a indictment of the abuse of the tax system by the wealthy, the powerful and the criminal. Warning: This documentary might induce outrage and anger.
A new report commissioned by a group of MPs in the European Parliament shows that the Royal Bank of Canada directed the creation of 1199 offshore companies in tax havens including Bahamas, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. It also shows RBC - under a different logo - was associated with the creation of 90 more offshore companies in those same low or no-tax jurisdictions.
OTTAWA - Documents that show that Finance Minister Bill Morneau knew that most of the benefit of the stock option loophole fell to a small group of very wealthy CEOs and that he received “urgent” messages from business lobbyists days before the federal budget, raises serious questions about the influence of Bay Street within the Liberal government.
“The Prime Minister campaigned on a promise to get rid of the stock option loophole which has put billions back into the pockets of wealthy CEOs including bank presidents, real estate moguls and heads of powerful multinationals,” says Dennis Howlett, president of Canadians for Tax Fairness. “Those guys send their lobbyists to talk to the Finance Minister and – just like that - their commitment disappeared.”
Earlier this month the Toronto Star published an editorial calling on Justin Trudeau to make tax fairness a priority for 2017. The editors argue that fixing the tax system would help restore confidence in the leadership and vision of the government. Good politics. But let's talk money for a moment.
Canada would have billions in increased revenues each year if the government gets serious about tackling tax havens and plugging loopholes like the stock option deduction and a host of others that have us hemmoraging money. Right now that money goes straight into the pockets of very wealthy individuals and corporations who are playing the system. Why is this even an option for our political class?