August 1st, 2021
It's Time for the Ultra-wealthy to Pay their Fair Share
The pandemic has been incredibly impactful and has upended almost every aspect of daily life and has had a significant impact on many people emotionally, mentally and financially. It is vital that the Government continue to support the many Canadians whose still need it. While so many everyday Canadians, small businesses and workers across the country continue to struggle financially, Canada’s billionaires increased their wealth by $78 billion. Instead of imposing a wealth tax to help Canadians recover from the pandemic, the Liberals gave multinational corporations and the ultra-wealth a free pass in budget 2021.
As we move toward a just recovery, it is crucial that we acknowledge how the pandemic has exacerbated the disparities between the wealthiest and everyday people. We need to ensure that the wealthiest, those who profited the most during the pandemic, pay their fair share. We need to implement a wealth tax on the ultra-rich, a pandemic profiteering tax on big corporations, and work towards closing the loopholes that allow for offshore tax havens.
The vast majority of Canadians support a wealth tax. According to a poll conducted by Abacus Data, 80% of Canadians’ agree with a wealth tax but, so far, the Liberals have failed to act. It completely defies logic that the Trudeau government isn’t asking massive corporations who made billions of dollars in profit to contribute to our country’s economic recovery.
Yet in Budget 2021, the Liberals help the ultra-rich get richer, as there are no measures to have them pay their fair share of taxes: no wealth tax, no pandemic profits tax.
In November 2020, my NDP colleagues and I put forward a motion that would immediately implement a 1% tax on fortunes over $20 million dollars, as well as a temporary COVID-19 excess profits tax aimed at big corporations who have made massive profits during the pandemic. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that the wealth tax we proposed would have provided over $5.6 billion a year in additional revenue. This money could have been invested in providing the services people need, services like pharmacare, dental care, universal childcare, a guaranteed livable income, or investments in housing. Despite widespread public support for these measures, the Liberals and the Conservatives both voted against it, demonstrating once again that they are not in it for everyday people.
We also have been calling on the government to make web giants like Facebook and Amazon, who have been making astronomical profits during this pandemic, finally pay their fair share - like any other Canadian business. The PBO found that the federal government could recoup over $1.8 billion a year by making this change.
In addition, this Liberal government is failing to take serious action to combat tax evasion. The Trudeau government has refused to follow through on its commitments to crack down on these activities and has never prosecuted a single one of the companies or thousands of Canadians listed in Bahamas Papers, Paradise Papers or Panama Papers. When my colleague MP Peter Julian questioned CRA officials about the issue of tax evasion, they admitted to Finance Committee that neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have ever given them the legislative tools to crack down on massive tax evasion by the wealthy in overseas tax havens, that costs Canadians $25 Billion EVERY YEAR. Yet the Trudeau government moved quickly to give draconian powers to the CRA to put regular people in prison if they didn’t meet all the CERB criteria. It’s hypocritical.
In the months ahead, the government will be faced with some critical choices and I will continue to push them to make the right ones. We need to stop letting the super-rich avoid paying their fair share. We have an opportunity to finally put in place a Fair Tax system by curbing tax havens, which will reduce inequality and better distribute wealth among Canadians.
While the Liberals continue to side with multinational corporations and the ultra-wealthy, my federal NDP Caucus is going to continue to push for a fairer, more equitable society for everyday Canadians.