KAMLOOPS — Canada’s taxation system needs fundamental change to get the country’s spending financed by those with the greatest ability to pay.
“Reform is long overdue,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “In this rich country, the growing gap between rich and poor is just plain wrong. A Green government will undertake tax reform that is fair and fiscally responsible.” Ms. May notes: “There has been no fundamental review of the tax code for 60 years. A Green government will establish an arm’s length Federal Tax Commission to analyze the tax system root-and-branch for fairness and accessibility.
“Closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy will be a priority,” said Ms. May. “The stock option loophole is one of the most expensive and unfair tax loopholes. The Liberals made a half-hearted attempt to limit the benefit of stock option deductions in their 2019 budget but they didn’t go far enough.”
A Green government will also close the capital gains loophole which allows people and corporations to only add half of their capital gains to their taxable income, while those with only employment income pay taxes on their entire income. Small businesses and family farms will be exempted. Over 90 per cent of the value of this tax break goes to the richest 10 per cent, and about 85 per cent goes to the top one per cent.
“The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) needs to focus on the people who hide vast amounts of wealth in offshore accounts instead of auditing ordinary citizens with nothing to hide,” she said. “Greens will retrieve funds hidden in offshore tax havens by requiring companies to prove that their foreign affiliates are actual functioning businesses for tax purposes.”
Ms. May noted that Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet, don’t benefit from any of these loopholes.
John Kidder, Green Party finance critic and candidate for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, says “The Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy called our revenue plan ‘fundamental changes to the tax system’. We’re proud of this. It’s past time for tinkering. We’ll move the tax burden to those with the greatest ability to pay. We’ll set the large corporation tax rate competitive with the US, we’ll add a surtax for our immensely profitable banks, we’ll get money back from tax evaders, we’ll tax free-riding internet companies, we’ll tax financial traders. We’ll use those billions to finance expanded social services, health and pharma-care, childcare and infrastructure.”
A Green government will:
• Impose a financial transactions tax of 0.2 per cent in the finance sector as France has done since 2012.
• Increase the federal corporate tax rate from 15 to 21 per cent to bring it into line with the United States.
• Maintain the current level of taxation for small business.
• Charge a five per cent surtax on commercial bank profits. Credit unions, caisses populaires and co-ops will be exempt.
Mr. Kidder stressed that Greens will eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies, including the accelerated capital cost allowance on LNG, tax write-offs and flow-through share deductions for oil and gas and coal, the $14 billion allocated for the Trans-Mountain pipeline and the quarter of a billion so far allocated to LNG Canada. “These simple measures alone,” said Mr. Kidder, “will get us back billions of dollars in foregone tax revenue from payoffs to this profitable and globally damaging industry.”
“Fossil fuels are history,” he said. “The world’s economy will be fundamentally transformed within this generation. Our tax dollars will be spent helping Canada lead in this revolution.”
“Greens understand that fair taxation goes hand-in-hand with fiscal stewardship. For too long, Canadians have put up with a tax system that burdens those with the least ability to pay, and favours those with the most. We’ll turn that around, for the benefit of Canadians now and into the future.”
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