When the CCPA was founded 40 years ago, it was in direct opposition to a handful of right-wing, “free market” policy groups who, despite being on the political scene for only a few years, had become influential in the halls of government and the news media. From their earliest days, these think-tanks aimed to weaken public faith in government’s ability to do good in people’s lives.
The Monitor starts off 2020—the CCPA's 40th anniversary year—with a direct attack on the Trudeau government's contradictory climate plans and the close connections between public officials and the fossil fuel sector. Will minority status and a rising Green New Deal movement change the government's course, or will it be just more business as usual?
Illustration by Remie Geoffroi
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.