Recently I wrote a post expressing doubt that the tax treaties signed by Stephen Harper at the urging of big business will not in any way be amended by Justin Trudeau. Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), as manipulated by Harper, allow for the legalized theft of countless billions of corporate tax dollars from the public treasury, thereby limiting what government can do to alleviate social and economic woes here at home.
Judging by some letters in today's Star, I see I am not alone in my suspicion that relief will not be forthcoming from our 'new' government:
Re: Why not outlaw use of tax havens? Letter June 22
Re: Loopholes costing Canada billions in lost revenue page, June 17
Sadly, Robert Bahlieda is a prophet crying in the wilderness. The criminalization of corporate tax avoidance is next to impossible when, as he rightly argues, it is ingrained in our culture and politicians routinely coddle business interests.
While it took great courage for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reject austerity and embrace infrastructure spending, it will take even more political chutzpah to entertain radical tax reform when Canadians are unwilling to pay even for the programs and services they need.
In the end it is we the citizens who must object to the privatization of our democracy. We need to care enough about it to insist that our representatives uphold the importance of taxation in a civilized society – the principled starting point of any true reform.
Salvatore (Sal) Amenta, Stouffville
This article should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about who Western governments, and in particular the Canadian government, represent. It sure as hell isn’t the average voter in Canada.
I resent my hard earned tax dollars being spent on giveaways to multinational corporations like Bombardier, GM, and many others to ostensibly “create” new jobs, or “preserve” current employment, when these wealthy corporations pay next to no Canadian taxes. They then use their profits to buy back shares to better reward their executives, while at the same time cutting employees.
As the article points out, Canadian government policy has been to encourage the offshoring of profits.
The most effective way to stop this corporate gravy train is to eliminate income taxes on profits and replace them with a turnover tax of 1 to 3 per cent on all sales in Canada. Taxes on profits are easily subverted as we have seen with the shifting of taxes between Ireland and other jurisdictions.
A tax on corporate sales for the privilege of selling in Canada would at one fell swoop eliminate all the fancy accounting practices and legal manoeuvres to avoid taxes. Sales are the easiest thing to monitor and the most difficult to obscure.
Don Buchanan, Etobicoke
When discussing corporate tax avoidance the argument is made that Canadian multinationals need these “tools” to give them the “best ability to compete on international and global scale.” We’ve heard this kind of argument in another sphere – doping and steroid use in professional and amateur athletics.
Perhaps it’s time the multinationals were also barred from competition and stripped of their hardware so that the ethical ones can thrive.
Sid Potma, Toronto
The integrity of Canada’s tax system, as it’s currently written, looks disproportionately to its citizens for the tax base to maintain our country. I would appreciate it if some one would publish a list of the Canadian companies/corporations blatently avoiding billions in corporate taxes, thus placing an unfair burden on all of us to maintain the basic lifestyle we have become accustomed to.
Richard Kadziewicz, Scarborough