Tax avoidance has become an accepted part of doing business for corporations the world over.
But it isn’t just Google, Starbucks and Amazon working the system. Canadian corporations like Cameco and Gildan use complex, opaque practices to shift profits into low or no-tax jurisdictions. Whether it is short term thinking or just plain greed, the result is the same. They reward a small group of shareholders rather than invest in the country that provides the stability, resources and workforce that makes their success possible in the first place.
Government budgets generally fail to impress me. No doubt this is the result of decades as an anti-poverty and fair tax advocate. But Ontario's proposed budget - the document that spurred an election and ended the leadership career of at least one politician - is different. It contains several items that are definitely steps in the right direction.
“Peace, order and good government” was the principle that John A. MacDonald espoused in 1867. Now, 147 years later, most of us still understand the role government has in a safe, caring country. That stability is what makes communities strong, healthy and able to meet challenges. It is a unique Canadian spirit that shapes this country. But we need money to invest in the services that help define us. And that’s why we need tax fairness.
Headlines this week declared Canadians “saving” $30 billion as a result of changes to personal income tax and the GST since 2005.