• Paradise Papers tell a troubling story about money and power

    The Paradise Papers are doing nothing to soothe those who worry about the unseemly intertwining of money and power in politics or about the extent to which the economy is rigged by the few against the many. The government can do something about that. It can, for instance, close unfair and ineffective tax loopholes and collect what’s owed. Or it can sit back, defend the current arrangements and watch the cynicism grow.

  • Paradise Papers show Ottawa must crack down on offshore tax havens

    … these revelations promise to deepen the longstanding problems of distrust and cynicism that inhibit needed tax reform and corrode our democracy… more than 3,000 Canadians are among those who made use of byzantine tax-avoidance schemes chronicled in the leaked documents. Most of these schemes are ethically dubious, some possibly illegal, and many might have been avoided had the government listened to the experts.

  • Bernie Sanders lauds Canadian health-care system in Toronto speech

    “if you want to expand and protect health care or education, there are people out there in every country in the world who think it is more important to give tax breaks to the richest people … what we need to do is take those oligarchs on.” … What went mostly unsaid during Mr. Sanders’s speech is that while Canada’s health-care system can look great compared with that of the United States, it can still fare poorly next to comparable countries.

  • The era of big government isn’t over. It may be about to start

    The mystery is why anyone ever thought private companies were the way to cover huge costs like health or pensions. It’s costly and patchwork; public programs make far more sense. They’re stabler, better funded and include some democratic oversight. But before the economy got financialized, and mighty companies turned into hedgies’ playthings, they could at least pretend to fill the need. Public programs, however, mean you need revenues to fund them.

  • Liberals need to get back on track to tax reform

    While the economy is booming the government can afford to have it both ways – increase benefits for the middle class and working poor, while sweetening the pot for small business. But the economy will inevitably hit bumps in the road (starting with the Trump threat to NAFTA) and to make its vision sustainable over the long run the government must produce a plan to shore up its finances with true tax reform.

  • Ontario will have to hike taxes or cut spending, watchdog warns

    “As the baby-boomers continue to age, they will require more resources from Ontario’s health care system, increasing pressure on government spending.” … The FAO estimated that to meet that target, Queen’s Park would have to fill an annual hole of about $6.5 billion… “Perhaps worst of all, the FAO says continuing on this course will unfairly shift the fiscal burden from baby boomers to younger Ontarians.”

  • Why the CRA thought it could take a bite of your free lunch

    The idea of taxing income equally is at the heart of any idea of tax fairness. Unless we want to encourage the creation of tax loopholes, our tax system has to try to respect it… [but] It comes down to a question of proportionality and reasonableness. There’s an old Latin expression: De minimis non curat lex. The law should not concern itself with trifles.

  • Doctors deserve a better deal, not tax dodges

    … physicians (like lawyers) can access tens of thousands of dollars in RRSP tax shelters beyond the reach of most workers. The lack of physician pensions is a choice they made collectively a half-century ago, when they adamantly refused to be deemed government employees despite earning virtually all their income from public funds in a now archaic fee-for-service model. That income anachronism is debilitating for all sides — patients, doctors and the government.

  • Most small businesses go nowhere, why tilt the tax system in their favour?

    The best way to stimulate productivity isn’t by subsidizing the creation of a lot of tiny, uncompetitive firms with no hope of going anywhere. It’s by opening the economy to competition and market disruption. Only we’re not terribly keen on either. We don’t need a pro-small business tax policy in this country. We need a pro-growth policy. And the starting point is to get rid of the small business deduction.

  • Bill Morneau should refine tax proposals, then look at larger reform

    Surely these changes would have been easier to swallow had they been part of a holistic tax reform agenda, guided by clear principles… those affected might understandably wonder, why us? … especially when there are so many more costly and regressive loopholes still on the books.