As tax receipts begin to arrive in mailboxes, it seems like an ideal time to talk about the perversion of our tax system. Yes, I did say the perversion.
I got into politics because I believe in building a more equal Canada, and achieving that goal requires measures to address income inequality.
In recent years, more and more income and wealth has been concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest Canadians. Most middle and working class families have not enjoyed a real increase in their income in many years. In fact, income inequality is now as bad as it was in the late 1920s. In part that’s because of deliberate government policy.
Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have made fiscally and socially irresponsible decisions about the Canadian tax system. Ottawa now spends some $18 billion every year on tax benefits for profitable corporations and wealthy individuals – those who need help the least.
Those funds should be redeployed to more productive purposes that will promote prosperity and build a more equal Canada – priorities like green jobs, health care, education and training, public transport, public and cooperative housing, and poverty reduction.
Failing to do so is a direct assault on our collective ability to build a better Canada. And it is a perversion of our tax system into an instrument that wastes billions of dollars creating more inequality.
Fair taxes build safer, better educated and healthier communities. Fair taxation improves incomes for those who need it most and that, in turn, produces a benefit to all Canadians because tax breaks to those at lower income levels puts disposable income in the pockets of people who use it to buy food, shelter, and basic necessities that stimulate local economies.
The poor do not take their tax savings off shore; they spend it locally, benefitting local shops and producers, creating and sustaining jobs in our communities, and improving tax revenues.
When the Conservatives bring forward their Budget this spring, let’s hold them accountable for the tax choices they make. And let’s make sure that there is no disconnect between the taxes we pay and the benefits we receive.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to work hard to ensure that everyone on the Mountain receives the tax credits and benefits to which they are entitled.
In friendship and solidarity,