Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and other tax-avoiding internet giants were in the news a lot this summer. Much of the credit for this can go to Emmanuel Macron. Despite pushback from big tech and U.S. President Donald Trump, the French president announced plans at this year’s G7 summit to introduce a 3% tax on digital revenues. Trump only backed down after Macron agreed to pay back some of these revenues once the OECD reaches a new agreement for taxing digital giants over the next year.
Canada’s income tax system has a lot going for it. On balance, its rate structure is progressive. While there are flaws in our system of self-assessment, such as underreporting of income or aggressive tax planning (to avoid taxes owing), most Canadians seem to be motivated to comply with tax rules.
You can’t assume that government budgets affect men and women the same way—or other groups for that matter—since men and women generally occupy different social and economic positions. Unfortunately, until very recently, governments have done exactly that—developing policies and assigning funding to them in a gender-blind fashion.
Wealth taxation is back on the progressive political agenda. It is both a refreshing new idea and a return to vogue of a policy established decade ago in Europe. Some remember it as part of François Mitterrand’s 110 propositions pour France, a joint electoral platform in 1981 with the Communist Party that carried him into the Élysée Palace. The solidarity tax on wealth survived multiple right-wing presidents, only to fall recently to President Macron.
Échec aux paradis fiscaux was founded in 2011 by a small group of unions and civil society organizations fed up with how easily corporations and high-wealth individuals avoid paying taxes. Slowly, the coalition has grown to the point that today, nearly all Québec’s unions are members, alongside a great number of other groups and two national student associations.
Corporate income tax has long been a leading provider of government revenue. Unfortunately, large sections of the media and policy-making community have accepted the notion, propagated by both the business lobby and neoliberal ideology, that corporate tax is a detrimental, inefficient and growth inhibiting tax. Tax cuts, on the other hand, are said to encourage investment, create jobs and increase productivity. There is strong evidence that neither of these widely held beliefs are true.
Like many Black children who grew up in Canada in the mid-80s and early 90s, I was raised with the idea that making your parents proudest meant becoming a doctor or a lawyer. It didn’t matter if your family descended from 18th century Black Loyalists or 19th century African American Refugees, or if your parents had recently immigrated from the Caribbean or Africa to serve as working class labourers or foreign-trained professionals, or to find greater safety and security.
Nearly 25 years ago, Canada participated in the 4th World Conference on Women, which resulted in global adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The conference set a new course for feminist activism by recognizing women’s rights as human rights. Bodily autonomy, the ability to decide freely over our bodies, was declared critical to realizing those rights.
Photo taken from the Liberal Party website.
For centuries, the political right has opportunistically blamed immigrants for everything from economic slowdowns to lousy weather. The ferocity of these baseless attacks in the 20th century produced tragic results. Yet we are letting it happen again—in the United States, Brazil, Australia, different parts of Europe, and here in Canada. We must confront this vile political discourse wherever we come across it on social media, in classrooms, at public events, and in daily conversations with family and friends. But how can we do it?