• Who really rides the gravy train? Not those who were on basic income

    The same week that the basic income project was scuttled, a new report outlined how wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few Canadians, how those fortunes are amassed over generations, and how the country’s tax system helps protect and enlarge those fortunes… “In general, Canada’s tax system is set up to encourage concentration of wealth at the very top,” the report says. That includes a lack of tax on inheritances, low taxes on capital gains and an acceptance of tax-avoiding loopholes. These too are government handouts; we’re just trained not to think of them that way.

  • Why I love paying taxes

    Canadians have been trained to demonize tax in all its forms… Taxation gets things done… Taxes pay for an organized, rules-based pleasant city for nearly three million people. It works. And if it doesn’t work, you have someone to complain to. If you want nicer things, for instance a downtown relief line or greater population density and homes people can afford, taxes will have to rise… Jennifer Keesmaat wants nicer things. I’m not sure if John Tory does. But can they both finally talk about taxes with candour and realism?

  • Why Canada’s employers should back national pharmacare

    Canadians could save $7.3-billion to $10.7-billion (42.8 per cent) a year under a national pharmacare system. The bulk of those savings would accrue to employers who currently pay for drug insurance as part of their employee health plans. Even if the government took back some of those savings via taxes to help cover the cost of pharmacare, the net effect would be a major competitive advantage for Canadian employers, much in the way medicare is.

  • Charity laws must evolve with the times

    The just-released Ontario Superior Court decision squashes the notion that charities cannot fully engage in political activities. The charity Canada Without Poverty took the Canada Revenue Agency to court over its ruling that the group should lose its charitable status… In this case, the purpose of relieving poverty is with the sharing of ideas, not nutrition.

  • National pharmacare ‘blueprint’ will be unveiled next spring

    … the provinces do want to know “who is going to pay for the transformation, and how is the pie going to be divided after that?” … “It’s very important to provinces and territories that the federal commitment is there, it’s substantial, and that provinces and territories have confidence in that cost-sharing and that federal contribution, and that federal contribution will be there today and also into the future.”

  • Still waiting for that adult conversation about taxes and public services

    The disconnect between public services and the taxes we pay to provide them… invites us to vote for a property tax freeze, a sales tax cut, an income-tax cut — even if it doesn’t benefit us much. It invites us to disregard the reality that governments have a responsibility to ensure the ability to pay for the public services that we depend on.

  • Provincial carbon tax revolt could be a blessing in disguise for federal Liberals

    Ottawa can and should proceed without them. A federal carbon pricing plan would not only offer the virtues of simplicity. It would also free the feds to tailor it to their own designs, rather than taking on whatever half-baked or watered-down plans the provinces threw at them… Maybe internal free trade is beyond us, but carbon-fuelled tax reform is eminently feasible.

  • National pharmacare will require tax hike, former budget watchdog warns

    … there’s a solid argument to be made for national pharmacare, because it would help Canadians save significantly on their out-of-pocket drug expenses and create more consistency in terms of health costs across the country. The 2017 parliamentary budget office study estimated such a plan would save Canadians more than $4-billion every year on prescriptions. But… the federal balance sheet would become unsustainable if it assumed the full cost of such a program.

  • Why the world should embrace universal basic income

    These studies… counter many of the most common objections to a UBI. Such policies do not turn the safety net into a hammock, for one. People still work, particularly if the payments are not too big. Indeed, one benefit is that such payments do not penalize people for working and earning more, as many other welfare programs do… The pilots also provide evidence for some of the potential salutary effects of such a policy, in terms of making people healthier and less stressed, providing recipients with more control over and choices in their lives, and eliminating poverty.

  • The CRA makes life more difficult for people with disabilities

    … in a report titled Breaking Down Barriers. The senators make some sensible recommendations about fixing the DTC [Disability Tax Credit] and related programs, and even about the treatment of people with disabilities more generally. The two most important suggestions are that the DTC become a refundable (as opposed to a non-refundable) tax credit so it would benefit the most needy… [and] that everyone in a provincial program for people with disabilities be enrolled automatically in the registered disability savings program.