A conversation about taxes is inevitably a conversation about the kind of Canada we want but also about the kind of Canada we think is possible. Today we reap the benefits of public services built by previous generations more willing to pay taxes. But what will we be passing on to future generations? In the name of austerity we put off investments critical to our future. We also put off the maintenance of our existing infrastructure, our schools and hospitals, roads and bridges, the worst kind of false economy, passing on even more expensive problems to future governments, future generations, jeopardizing our economic performance, and exposing citizens to avoidable health and safety risks.
Charles Dickens knew a thing or two about tax fairness, corporate greed and income equality. So during this season of Black Fridays and Economic Action Plan ads, I revisited one of his most famous stories for a bit of inspiration. It got me to thinking. What would the Christmas ghosts say to Stephen Harper if they were to visit 24 Sussex Drive on Christmas Eve? What would we hear if we could eavesdrop on those midnight visits?
The Canada Revenue Agency has picked a fight with the wrong guy. Arne Sorbo is an unlikely, but very real tax hero.
His story is one of an ailing but feisty BC senior pushing back against unfair, disrespectful and ineffective practices of the Canada Revenue Agency. It has struck a chord with Canadians across the country.
Do you know just how much money our country is losing to overseas tax evasion?
The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer doesn’t. Apparently, neither does our government.
Most of us pay high taxes and, in turn, expect services from the government. But in recent years, many of these services have been reduced, or cut completely. Simply put, if overseas tax cheats don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the rest of us have to pay more to make up the shortfall, or face cuts to the benefits and services upon which we rely.
It is the time-worn story of the rich getting ever richer while the poor become even poorer. This is a global crisis with a devastating impact. Inequality is denying populations across the developed and developing world access to the services required to meet their basic needs. This is troubling news not just for human rights now, but also for our collective future. Without adequate financing, we cannot achieve our long-term development goals or being to face issues such as climate change.
I believe Canada has been devastated by tax cuts and cuts to public services. We are at record lows in how much the Federal government collects in revenue as a percentage of GDP. We face huge challenges: Growing inequality is undermining our economy. Our social programs are being dismantled. Very few of those who are unemployed now qualify for Employment Insurance. Soon you will have to wait till you are 67 before collecting Old Age Security. Health transfers are due to be cut drastically. And climate change threatens our very survival. The Federal Government needs to raise more revenue in order to have the resources required to reduce income inequality, boost investments in social and physical infrastructure and tackle climate change. So when Canada’s Parliamentary Finance Committee asked for input on the next Federal Budget here is what Canadians for Tax Fairness told them: