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Tax Dodgers, Loopholes and Income Gap Should be No. 1 Election Issue

February 10th, 2019 · 29 Comments

More than 12 years after retiring, I receive a fairly small BCTV STAFF pension …. with NO c.o.l.a., NO medical coverage, NO prescription assistance, NO dental plan, NO eyecare … nada!  (The executives, of course, rewarded themselves with a MUCH better plan.)

In that regard, I am like MANY other retired Canadians … living on a small company pension or worse, some without even that,  supplemented by CPP, OAS and some RRSP (or RRIF) savings.

And yet, despite tax deductions at source each month, Ottawa calculated I still owed them a few thousand dollars.  I pulled more out of my dwindling savings … and paid.

NOW I learn that more than 40% of Canadians …. from the poor to many, many, many much RICHER than you or I  (probably even putting together our annual incomes) … pay NO INCOME TAXES!!!!!

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drew attention to just the tip of this outrage recently when he opined “low-income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes”.

But they are not alone! There are many wealthy income earners who don’t pay taxes at all either!

In fact, I’d say many low income and middle income Canadians pay MORE than their FAIR share of taxes than the RICH in terms of percentages of disposable income and what THEY have left to just survive on after all the deductions they cannot avoid.

I realize that some high income earners do contribute a large PERCENTAGE share of federal tax revenues …. but there are also many who have sizeable hidden incomes … here or offshore …  or have avoided paying taxes thanks to very generous deductions and write-offs and credits THEY can take advantage of much more than ordinary Canadians.

In fact, Trudeau should have pointed out … many of the RICH don’t even pay THEIR fair share of taxes … thanks to tax loopholes designed by federal departmental accountants and bureaucrats at the request of their elected ministers and then passed by politicians in the Commons and Senate for the benefit of higher income earners.

And let’s keep it real: it’s not just low income earners who eat up a lot of government services. Don’t forget all those subsidies and free corporate advice and assistance and even funding, in grants,  forgiveable loans and guarantees.

So when the federal and provincial governments need money … LOTS of it … to function,  YOU and I therefore must make up for the rest.

“On average, two of every five Canadian households do not pay anything towards federally and provincially funded expenses such as health care, education, community and social services, national defence, public safety and even the good old Canada Revenue Agency. One household of every five pays much more than 70 per cent of all of those costs,” explained a piece in the Financial Post this past week.

You can read that column here: https://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/taxes/trudeau-is-right-40-of-canadians-dont-pay-income-taxes-which-means-someone-else-is-picking-up-the-bill.

The gap between Canada’s rich and the rest of us should be the MAJOR issue in the upcoming October federal election.

And what we need is not just shallow rhetoric and pandering promises but specific policies on how the middle class will finally get a fair shake.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow me on Twitter @harveyoberfeld to get First Alerts of all new topics on this blog.)

Tags: British Columbia · National

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 rainclouds // Feb 10, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    https://www.greaterfool.ca/2019/02/10/milk-the-rich/

    Meanwhile CRA, RCMP, FINTRAC, JUSTICE let billions get laundered without a peep…… politicians at EVERY LEVEL with 0 oversight. (They ignore auditor general warnings repeatedly) Robbing the till to buy votes.(ICBC, BCHYDRO) kicking the can down the road for the next generation.

    Federal debt payments of about 30 BILLION per year and climbing.

    The problem isn’t the taxpayer. It’s overspending, weak leadership, lack of oversight, and long term planning.

    Health care is a classic example (2ND Highest cost per capita. 26th best outcomes ) Adrian Dix proudly using your money to preserve an archaic idiology shared with North Korea and no one else.

    The election issue should be fiscal accountability.

    (Response: I think fiscal accountability and closing tax loopholes, overtaxing of middle class and going after those who hide $$$ overseas and here too all go hand in hand. Think of the BILLIONS our governments could gain to spend on real issues like you and I outlined! h.o)

  • 2 13 // Feb 10, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Harvey, if we spent as much on seniors as we do on drug addicts our seniors would be better off.
    If we legislated a law that mandated seniors should pay zero for prescription drugs.
    If we put the brakes on funding other nations in need (especially those that do not spend the money on their people).
    If we were to somehow put the brakes on public sector waste.
    Stop funding feel good government projects. Ice rinks in Ontario. Renaming every piece of public property to cater to (fill in the special interest group)
    Abolish the senate and start cutting back political pension plans. Stop allowing Van city councilors to increase a slush fund by 5Xs
    Stop allowing a PM with absolutely no idea of what its like to work for a living to pontificate about low income earners not paying taxes. Good God if you live in Canada you sure as hell pay taxes. PST GST on food clothing gas heating you name it if you are the poorest of the poor you still get to pay taxes. Fix the tax code.

    I feel better but I guarantee that JT will do nothing to help seniors except to find new and sleazy ways to extract more taxes from them.

    Kind off like affordable housing. 5 increases to the prime in last 18months. Pushing mortgage qualifications to idiotic levels. The value of real estate has likely dropped by 25%. So mom and dad that didnot work in the public sector. Mom and dad that counted on their home as a retirement nest egg have seen 25 % of that eliminated in the name of affordablle housing. To all the public sector trough dwellers a lot of people are like mom and dad.Taxing people that own property and dont use it. Harvey if you own two cars you should pay an idle car tax.

  • 3 NVG // Feb 11, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Don’t you just love it when mega projects are announced that the costs are split three ways. Doesn’t matter the percentage. Municipal, Provincial, and Federal each picking up their tab.

    All three source of income are the same.

    You

    (Response; Exactly! And if the sources are US, the chief financial benefactors sometimes are MORE those at the top (contracts/loans/profits) than those who pay for it or even do the actual construction. And don’t forget the donations to the governing party’s political wing as well. Voters should be mad as hell … esp as we see our own standards of living diminishing as the gap between the rich and other workers grows. h.o.)

  • 4 Gene The Bean // Feb 11, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Agree 100%.
    Stop corporate welfare.
    Double the tax rate for anyone making over a million dollars.
    Eliminate the loopholes and tax avoidance schemes that only the rich can use.
    Eliminate tax deductions for political contributions and limit them to $100 for an individual and $1000 for a corporation.
    That would be a great start in reversing all the damage that the conservatives and corporatists have done to people all over the world.

    (Response: Great! Now we need a million Canadians to demand these ideas become the focus of the coming election campaign! h.o.)

  • 5 D. M. Johnston // Feb 11, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I am 63 now and have been involved with politics on all levels and I can say this without blushing, most of them are on the take is some way or another.

    Those donating large sums to politcal parties now like stupid candidates because they are much easier to control. Integrity means nothing today and the more self righteous a politician gets, the more I think he is as bent as a bent nail.

    The Vichy media in Canada is also to blame, my god on radio 1130, they ran a head line of a 19 year old Idaho college student had a fight in a bar. What (edited..h.o) was that all about, like who cares in BC.

    Current economic theory is making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Technology has become a time suck for kids and except for the minority who play sport, most lounge fighting invented monsters with non existent weapons.

    I would like to see a hell of a lot more money pumped into sport at schools and everyone going to school must play a sport and not (edited..h.o) golf!

    Today, the Prime Minister is embroiled in a serious scandal, with SNC Lavalin which for some has come at a surprise.

    Not me, as SNC Lavalin hold the Engineering patents for SkyTrain (inherited them from Lavalin who went bankrupt trying to sell SkyTrain there) and are heavily involved with our policy of SkyTrain only planning here. Lots of federal money ensures more of the now unsalable SkyTrain is built in BC, double bonus because the dippy mayor of Surrey threw out a decade of transit planning so he could build SkyTrain, to appease his politcal backers, land speculators and land developers.

    Money laundering is just another name for a sharp business practice today and it does bring jobs, jobs, jobs, to BC; but at what cost?

    As my time on this mortal coil draws to a close, I am sad that what a (edited..h.o) mess we have left for our children all for the selfish; he/she who has the most toys when we die, wins.

  • 6 Harry Lawson // Feb 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Harvey,

    Let’s do a flat tax for all , no deductions, your tax form would be the size of a post card .fair and equitable for all .

    (Response: I don’t support the flat tax … 20%, for example, of a poorer Canadian’s income would impact and hurt that earner much harder than the same % would impact a very wealthy Canadian …even though the dollar amount would be greater. h.o)

  • 7 SB // Feb 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    This is part of a much bigger problem and that is the sense of entitlement so many have the business world thrives on it GM as an example tens of millions of our money in tax breaks to end up leaving to Mexico .
    Tax incentives should only be awarded to business adding jobs and opportunity to our economy with strict rules attached start there then any outsourcing costing Canadian jobs results in penalty taxes to help offset losses and govt costs such as EI and such,reward growth and investment penalize those who use the system unfairly.
    Onto the billions being washed and affecting our economy it is an issue governments had to know we’re willfully ignoring if not they were so incompetent it seems the truth is part both again how many millions in lost tax?
    40 years ago the executive class did not make 5 or 10 times or more than the average employee now it’s an entitlement and it’s becoming worse and that is simply greed , that money comes out of the average employees cut and explains why wages benefits pensions are being clawed back at some point this process no longer works because there’s nothing left to take .
    Pensions need to be protected use Sears as an example they pay hefty bonus money to top executives and as creditors former employees were left hung out to dry by our own laws that’s wrong Sears took their money to manage it was their responsibility or should be to have kept it secure and laws that protect that should be strict and uncompromising.
    That’s a few off top I’m sure you and others here can add but those to me are common sense things to fix ,tax loopholes offshore money close those and make all pay their share not more not less but their share.

    (Response: Federal and provincial governments …Tory, NDP as well as Liberal … have long histories of making funding, contract awards, subsidies, loan decisions etc based on political (buying votes) decisions rather than on sound fiscal rationales. And let’s keep it real: MANY voters in benefiting vote-rich areas have no problem with that. Too bad the rest of us don’t scream and protest or write letters to newspapers and/or blogs enough: if MORE spoke up, and pointed out how that, and tax loopholes, unfair taxing rules, is robbing the country of BILLIONS … it could become the MAJOR issue in the upcoming federal election…. not just let the politicians decide what the major issue should be. h.o.)

  • 8 13 // Feb 11, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    The long and the short of our dilemma isnt who pays what. Or what would be fair. Genes assertion that its the fault of conservatives and big corporations and the wealthy. All meaningless drivel. BTW I agree with all of the aforementioned problems but I would include the fantasy land liberal dreamers that think that correcting those perceived problems would make it all better.
    You could rewrite the tax code to punish anyone that makes more than (fill in the amount of your choice). You could have a flat tax. You could eliminate all taxation of anyone making less than (once again fill in the amount of your choice).
    Guess what? The tax revenue will still go the same wasteful public sector thieves. ( I include all 3 levels of tax sucking trough dwelling politicians, their assistants, and every last worker from Trudeau to the ditch digging municipal worker. UNFUNDED defined pension plans. Benefit plans that provide endless massages, sick days stress days, PTSD days. AND so many other benefits that they have a hard time utilizing them all. Ever get bored with reading the blog? Read some public sector collective agreements. You will be unpleasantly surprised and might even think how do they get such contract language?
    Answer is simple. They bargain with an employer that has the deepest pockets . YOU and ME

  • 9 Harry Lawson // Feb 11, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Harvey,

    We could make a flat tax fair on all set a per adult tax free income tax anything above that.

  • 10 BMCQ // Feb 11, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    I believe that most Canadians of all Political Parties would agree with most of what you have put forward here Harvey.

    Indeed it is long past time to do away with Tax Loopholes, Fraud, Cheating, and other various Unfair and Immoral Tax Abuse.

    Unfortunately there are many Tax Avoidance Schemes that harm our Nation that are currently Lawful and legal and part of our Federal Tax Structure.

    As an example ask yourself how someone from a Foreign Country can gain Landed Status for themselves, their family, settle in say Richmond or Kerrisdale, Live in a $ 3 or 6 Million Dollar Home and pay NO Canadian Incomev Tax while at the same time Declaring NO Canadian Income.

    While at the same the family automatically qualify for Education, Healthcare, and the rest.

    It is long past time for Canadian Politicians of any brand, some brand proposed a totally new Income and Corporate Tax Structure for Canada.

    Of course it must be fair and it must not put Canadian Workers, Corporations, and Small Business into a situation similar to what has partly caused the soon to be collapse of the EU and many Member Nations.

    Harry – 6

    I agree we must adopt a Flat Tax Income Tax Structure.

    It does not need to be unfair as Harvey suggests, it should be a modified Tax FT Structure based on Income Levels but without cumbersome hidden Loopholes and Avoidance Schemes.

    In other words a FT System with 3 Brackwts with working People and Pensioners Paying NO Income Tax with Incomes of less than $35 K.

    It does not make sense to Tax Seniors Pensions Incomes. It is not good for them and it is not good for Canada.

    We must also keep in mind that the Top 1% of Canadian Income Earners that consists of individuals with Incomes over about $ 275 K Pay about 25% of Canadian Income Tax. There are only about 300,000 Canadians in that Group.

    I have discussed a Modified Flat IT Structure with friends and acquaintances over the years and most would not be opposed to a fair MFiT Model as described.

    Same for Corporate Tax, I would be more than happy to pay more if Government Waste could be brought under control. Canadian Corporate Tax is one of the most fair in the Free World and under the right circumstances Business would pay more.

    Of course to sign on I would want to see many changes and restrictions put on Government Bloat and Waste. That would be very a very important part of any relationship Structure of Canadian Income and Corporate Tax Reform.

    We have only 8 months before the next Federal Election I honestly see no interest in any Canadian Political Party taking the initiative but I believe Harvey is correct it would be a very popular Plank of any Parties Platform.

    To me the most important change by any Political Party far would be to propose a NO Income Tax
    Policy on Pensioners or actual low income Working People with Incomes of less than $35,000.00. No Income Splitting or Deductions.

    (Response: There are strategists (as well as politicians) for the Libs/NDP/Tories and Greens who read this blog. They KNOW how unfair the current loophole riddled tax system is… unfair to and affecting more Canadians than all the money-laundering incidents added up. They also KNOW how the gap between rich and poor (and so many in the middle) is getting WORSE not better Their failure to take on these injustices is contributing to the growth of anger, anti-business, anti-trade sentiments and the dangerous increasing popularity of extreme right-wing even xenophobic movements. And if this is NOT addressed, the divisions in our society will get even worse. Time to talk AND DO something about it all in the upcoming general election campaign. If only someone could WAKE UP THE MEDIA to the issues and tell them WHY … for the good of our society as we know it .. they should bring it to the fore and PUSH the politicians to act. h.o.)

  • 11 Beenie // Feb 12, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Harvey, you are leaning much too far to the left. You need to straighten up. Its very bad for your posture.
    The wealthy are already taxed at 54 percent. The many benefits that they get are because they are the ones who are the builders of our economy. They start businesses, hire people, build buildings and buy equipment. they get in many cases very legitimate tax breaks. Lefties call them loopholes. perhaps there are some that can be reduced but not as many as some people think.
    AND you must remember AND consider that the less fortunate who pay very little in tax are the ones benefiting from all the programs and infrastructure that the more fortunate pay for.
    One solution for our current liberal government would be to reduce handing out the millions and billions of our dollars to other countries and groups. They could also look for and eliminate obsolete and useless programs that we currently support.

    (Response: Too bad you don’t mention how high a total income you have to declare (not including what they hide elsewhere or get to write-off as investments) before any PART of your income gets taxed at the highest rates. People in THAT category still get more benefits …personal, business, corporate, taxfree earnings, meals, club memberships, sporting event seats and private boxes, expensive cars, yachts owned by their “business” and often even travel deductions) than the poor or middle income earners ever dream of … so no, won’t hold a charity drive for the wealthy. h.o)

  • 12 e.a.f. // Feb 12, 2019 at 4:35 am

    ah, not much is going to change in the tax system. its pretty much cast in stone, concrete, whatever. Too many interests are at stake and all we really hear is people and corporations pay too much in taxes any how.

    If we decrease the amount of money a government receives, you defund the government and that won’t work well for just about anyone.

    Closing loop holes, demanding citizens and those who live here pay their taxes here, no more Panama paper stuff, etc. Not going to happen. The proceeds for running elections will dry up. Now if that were to change, the country most likely could afford a national pharma care program. Its not about what we would make or save, its about how a select few don’t have to pay taxes.
    We have only to look back at those who “buried” their taxes in other countries. and they made a deal with the Conservatives to pay only what they owed, not the fines. Now if a country is run like that, do you really think things are going to change? Not me. the Liberals have been in office for the past few years and they haven’t done much to change things either. If it became an election issue all that would happen is the major parties would tell voters what they wanted to hear and then not deliver.

    The only good thing the Liberals have done is the monthly child cheques. it helps kids and closes the income inequity gap. of course you will hear from others, it costs too much money. Guess they don’t think taking care of kids is a good expense.

    As to income inequity, which grows more and more each year, especially amongst retirees, who don’t have indexed pensions., nothing is going to change there either. There are still a few indexed pension systems around, but there aren’t many places of employment which even offer pensions any more. Something ought to be done before we have an every under class/

    All we will hear from the various parties, is if the taxes are too high, money will leave the country. My solution, seize it before it leaves. Real easy. They have had the advantage of doing business here and making money. its time to pay up, but that will never happen.

    Don’t agree with flat taxes, but it works nicely for a lot of corporations.

    (Response: Things CAN change … IF the public demands it, through letters to the Editor, through community organizations and clubs, through university researchers coming up with MORE well-publicised facts and figures showing how much worse the income gap is getting, through going after the candidates …AND if the media give voice to those complaints. Hope other bloggers take up the cause …for the benefit of the wider audience. h.o)

  • 13 RIsaak // Feb 12, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Well after over 6 years of my prime being spent caring for my cancer afflicted wife, I really get a prize of whatever her CPP pension survivor benefits are (I was net zero the whole time, did not work and could not). Of course we still paid taxes, on a single LTD income. I saved the governments, hundreds of thousands in care home fees, my prize was some bureaucrats actually having the gall to cut off what small care aid help we got, 4 days before the wife actually passed, as they suspended her palliative benefits, apparently due to her success in prolonging her life? I guess the virtual best before date which is tucked into some bureaucrat’s filing cabinet is somehow clairvoyant?
    I suppose this was a cost saving item, it was a policy change from Oct 2015, so Christy & the horse doctor health minister who is now pedaling legal pot made that change.
    I’ve seen many fellow citizens in their darkest hour, struggling to afford the basics, while I see folks in multi million dollar mansions driving 100K+ vehicles, some of whom I’m told file poverty level income tax returns? The many convenient for lobbyist’s client’s mechanisms should trouble us, the fact some take massive liberties while managing to squirrel away their assets on foreign soil while availing themselves of our poverty assistance, is really disgusting when I consider all the lifetime Canadian taxpayers who as a reward for a life of work, are somewhat abandoned in their hours of greatest need while other milk the system while hiding income & assets? No flavor of sunglasses can change the black into rose color, whatsoever!

    (Response: Your case is a perfect example of what I mean: how can it be even remotely fair or excusable for governments to squeeze ordinary Canadians like this … while providing so many loopholes, writeoffs and even grants and loans to ease any stresses the really rich (and the great accountants they can afford) …. making sure they not only don’t feel the pain the rest of us do …but even can get away with paying NOTHING!!!! It really should be discussed and pressed in the campaign…and not just by the Greens and NDP candidates who ..let’s keep it real ..will NOT form the next government, but my the Libs and Tories, who will. h.o)

  • 14 BMCQ // Feb 12, 2019 at 11:40 am

    The Media is and has been on “Cruise Control” much like the old guy asleep at the wheel of his Tesla on You Tube last week.

    Unfortunately the Media over all seem to only cover and investigate things that reflect their own Political Interests.

    We see that each and every day in the EU, no attention is paid to the collapse of Cultures, out of Control Migration, No Borders, Crime including Sex Assaults at Epidemic Proportions, where are their Editors, why does the Government literally order the Media to “Stand Down”?

    In Canada where we could and should have perhaps the best Country in the World our Media is literally ignoring important issues within the Federal Government like Tax Reform, Government Bloat, Waste, and out of Control Migration which will reach up to 1 Million Illegal Migrants by 2021.

    All of these could be adopted by either the NDP or the Conservative Party and they would benefit on Election Day.

    I must admit that Scheer has surprised me of late, he seems to be finding his game, I hope he reads this Blog Topic about Income Tax Inequities, Canadians need someone to “Step Up” and make these Federal Election Issues.

    Regardless of ones Political Leanings we all want a Government to be Fair and Balanced when it comes to Taxes of any kind, it is long past time for a National Party to listen.

  • 15 Diverdarren // Feb 12, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Harvey, if you’re saying income tax is to high in Canada, you wont get much argument from me. Income tax is the worst source of government revenue, as it dis-incentivises work and encourages tax avoidance and evasion (the “gig” economy).

    If you’re saying that the wealthy are not “paying their fair share” then that’s just not correct.

    the so-called “one percent” of producers (earning $232,400 and up) made 12.8% of market income but paid 22.2% of the nations income taxes.

    https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/william-watson-thank-the-rich-theyre-the-ones-paying-for-everything

    Income inequality is a “dog whistle” for the socialist minded among us. The ones who profess capitalism is the root of every problem from Climate Change to gingivitis. Creating in the minds of the people that your individual life circumstances is the fault of someone else who has more than I do, and is keeping me away from the wealth and goodies that society owes me.

    https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/measuring-the-distribution-of-taxes-in-canada

    You know the mind-set. The Marx, Sanders, AOC, Gene the Bean types. People that read The Tyee. They play on human insecurities like jealousy and envy to try and move the minds of people over to their ideology. Even if the facts don’t support their conclusions that doesn’t matter.

    I’m not saying capitalism doesn’t need to be watched and kept in check. There are plenty of examples where greed and illegal acts have occurred and the Marx-ist minded point to this and say, “see failures of capitalism!”

    Of course they miss the point, whatever the discrediting act was, it was illegal. Capitalism with proper regulation and oversight is the most power engine that has created wealth for the people, all the people, that has ever existed.

    The people in a capitalistic society that are the worst off are those that don’t participate in it, and instead are part of the failing socialist system that piggy-backs our capitalist society.

    If we want to see a better society with more wealth for seniors, low income workers and the wealth producers, the formula is simple.

    -Lower government spending especially waste.
    Here is a City of Vancouver program that has created trading cards for the cities most loved work vehicles. I don’t know what this program cost, but whatever it was, it was waste.

    https://vancouver.ca/people-programs/building-a-city-we-love.aspx

    -Lower the tax burden specifically income tax burden and generate revenue by user fees. If you use a government service, then you should pay for that service. That’s not a radical idea.

    – Remove stifling regulations. Not all of them, of course. Remove any regulation that doesn’t produce a result beyond obstructing productivity.

    Of course the alternative is Wealth Re-distribution. That works well. Feel free fellow responders to show success stories of societies that follow that course. It’ll be a blank box there.

    (Responses: Taxes ARE too high for low and middle income earners …especially in light of the huge EXTRA increases many have been burdened with in the past 15 years or so in terms of housing costs (renting as well as owning), food and fuel costs, Hydro, insurance, transportation, education etc. As for the rich, they SHOULD pay more, because remember as a percentage of their incomes, taxes do not affect their very ability to just put a roof over their heads, feed their kids and just have enough to pay their bills. And don’t forget …or underestimate …how much income/benefits/writeoffs wealthier taxpayers get to play with through deductions, loopholes, writeoffs (including phony “business” travels and golf/country clubs/sporting events tickets/fees) or, frankly, just by having the means to shield or hide monies in investments or cash stored elsewhere … even with the help of Canadian banks overseas. h.o)

  • 16 13 // Feb 12, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    RIsaak, Im sorry to hear of your wives passing. The palliative care she recd from you was probably better than anything the system could have provided. My brother made the same sacrifice to look after his wife. He took a year off and looked after her in the home they lived in. You and my brother saved the system a lot of money. Its amazing how you could provide the care for your wife , save the gov a lot of money and your reward is a tax bill even with reduced or no income. Again sorry for your loss.

  • 17 Art Smith // Feb 12, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Harvey, let’s “keep it real” as long as we have a PM and Finance minister who keep their funds out of the reach of the tax man, as have many other politicians for many years, Paul Martin as another egregious example nothing, and I mean nothing, will change. Don’t forget it was I believe, a Liberal government that allowed the Bronfmans to depart Canada without paying tax on their billions.
    Another phoney scam is the use of Foundations such as the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation to hide contributions to Justin, who controls the board and places sycophants on it at his discretion.
    I do agree with a flat tax and a lot of the other things which have been brought up, but there is a huge industry out there that thrives on the complexity of the tax system and it would go belly up if all the deductions and so forth were eliminated.
    At any rate I am not hopeful for anything other than small changes and they will not be of much use to low income earners.

    (Response: And what about Mulroney, Karl Heinz Schreiber et al? Already forgotten that saga? Canadians will only be well served when we recognize excessive tax writeoffs, loopholes, cash payments, undeclared overseas dealings and hidden monies etc are NOT a partisan problem … they affect ALL of us, have been set up by BOTH Liberal and Tory governments … and have to be taken on NOW at last! h.o)

  • 18 Rob // Feb 12, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Diverdarren: Financial Post and the Fraser Institute are not my usual sources of information. They have no bias as we all know. Before retiring I earned a very good salary in the computer software business. I had no deductions, got the cheque twice a month with tax, cpp, ei taken off and that was it. The only way to reduce taxes was a RRSP contribution. A friend who worked with me, quit and formed his own company. He paid his wife and two children for work they may or may not have done. He paid himself dividends instead of salary, wrote off part of the house, car, insurance, finance expenses, computers, phone, travel and anything else they would allow. And of course he made sure everyone in the family contributed the maximum into a TFSA whether they had earned it or not. The taxes I paid compared to him were huge. We both retired about the same time. I retired with enough, he retired with much, much more. He did things while working that I could not afford to do because he could expense some if not all of what he paid. Deductions do not have to be big things. Items that were a cost to me, were a deduction for him. Toner cartridges, paper, postage stamps, new office chair, tablets that the kids borrowed every now and then. Sometime I will tell you about my wife’s doctor!

    (Response: This case illustrates the advantages I said some people enjoy that most ordinary Canadians do not. Time to address these loopholes, writeoffs and, frankly, somewhat sleazy advantages the “system” gives some WEALTHY Canadians … at the cost of other less-well-off taxpayers. h.o.)

  • 19 Gene The Bean // Feb 13, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Was wondering how long it would take before someone yelled “but what about the brown people storming our borders”.

    So predictable.

    So sad.

  • 20 Gene The Bean // Feb 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Only made it 14 comments this post till the Alt right fear mongering and the “brown hordes at the border” hysteria started.

    How does that, somehow, have relevance to every single thing you write about Harvey?

    (Response: Think your paranoia …or built in prejudice … is showing. Tax dodgers, tax avoiders, people who hide their $$$ overseas (including at SEVERAL Canadian banks in the Caribbean and Europe) come in EVERY colour. h.o)

  • 21 13 // Feb 13, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Bob , are you trying to vilify your co worker that chose to open his own business? He and many others choose to risk their comfortable 9 to 5 jobs to try and create a business. Statistically your coworker turned entrepreneur is one of the lucky ones. Many people do exactly what he did. They open a small company and use all of the same deductions that you outline. You make it sound sleazy or criminal to use family members in a small company. You forgot to mention payroll taxes, WCB payments, special business class insurance from ICBC. Audits by the CRA that love to go after these small businesses while not noticing that most of Vancouver is being bought up by Chinese people without any source of income. Check out the yoga instructor that covered part of Huawae bail .
    Factually more small businesses fail than succeed. If you chose the safe employee route you really shouldnt be upset at you coworker that wanted more.

  • 22 Diverdarren // Feb 13, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Rob, you’re right the Financial Post and the Fraser Inst. is like any other media (CNN, Huff Po. ), you have to look at it with a critical eye. When I looked at their stories, I looked for other sources that refuted them. I didn’t find any. And, I’m sure that we have seen if one throws a source up, and it’s a bad one, there will be others on the net that want to put the record strait.

    You have described capitalism with real life story telling exactly how it works.

    Most of us engage capitalism in its most basic form, the exchange of labour for income. From that, some invest. It could be RRSP, mutual funds, maybe property. Each one of those comes with “perks”. Some go further and invest in capital venture, and that comes with perks and risks. Then, some go further and embrace the ideals of capitalism and become entrepreneurs. Huge risk and greatest perks when you embrace capitalism to its fullest.

    The issue is how to put more income into the hands of the workers so that they can choose to use the power of capitalism to their advantage.

    The socialist minded on this blog would say take more wealth from the rich, divide it up among the poor to elevate them. Well, we’ve been doing that for a long time, and all it creates is greater dependency. Welfare in its rainbow of forms has not fixed anything. But…

    If we stopped taking the income away from those that work for it through income taxes, that leaves more wealth in the hands of the earner. With that added wealth they can start to make their money work to make themselves more money (capitalism). They can invest in RRSPS, or take a greater step and seek the potential of venture investing, maybe they will even use their non-stolen added wealth to be an entrepreneur.

    If you just give someone the wealth they didn’t earn they wont create opportunity with it .

    If you let someone keep the wealth they did earn, they will invest it and make for themselves opportunity.

  • 23 Jay // Feb 14, 2019 at 1:30 am

    The only party that has addressed this, and I expect will be the only one, is the People’s Party.

    Scheer might as well reveal his Liberal membership card based on his performance as opposition leader.

    Max Bernier is the the only one to really question the status quo surrounding issues like corporate welfare. At this rate, I’d rather see him be the opposition leader.

  • 24 Gilbert // Feb 14, 2019 at 2:13 am

    I think the most important issue in the next election should be corruption and the independence of our judicial system. We need to make sure that our prosecutors are not pressured by politicians to interfere in issues before the courts for the purposes of saving jobs and votes. Issues such as bribing people to secure contracts are very serious ones and if these crimes are ignored, Canada will be viewed as a country which lacks transparency and fairness. It’s also time to make it clear to all our political leaders that if they obstruct justice, they lie and they commit crimes, they must face the consequences, including jail time if necessary.

  • 25 hawgwash // Feb 14, 2019 at 6:33 am

    13, are you the only one who, on reading a straight forward non judgemental post by Rob, not Bob, saw evil?

    Was it you who inspired the Carlos Santana song?

  • 26 r // Feb 14, 2019 at 8:54 am

    no bid contracts
    long term above market gov contracts
    excessive ministry secrecy and privilege
    corruption
    extra tax on super rich

  • 27 Gene The Bean // Feb 15, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Sorry for the double post, wifi not the best at my casa sometimes.

    (Response: No problem. I put them BOTH up because the wording was slightly different. h.o)

  • 28 BMCQ // Feb 17, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Jay – 33

    I am quite sure you are aware of this but please consider the following.

    If a fairly high prrcentage of historical Federal Conservative Voters Vote for the Max PP they will obviously take Votes away from the Scheer Conservatives.

    By doing that the Split created in many Federal Ridings will allow PM Justin Liberals to be Victorious by as they “Coming Up the Middle”.

    Now please ask yourself, “How much Sense does that make” ! Don’t you find that rather stupid?

    Of course Scheer is not perfect and as a Conservative I might support more of the Max Platform and Values but first things first, we need to rid Canada of the Moronic, Intellectuslly Challenged, Juvenile, Disengaged, Juvenile, Narcissistic, Disengaged, PM Justin.

    If Max Splits the Conservative Vote we will Re-elect PM Justin, we will then also see the total Collapse of the Singh NDP and within a year or so the NDP will have no choice but to merge with the Liberals which will guarantee a Unified Left in Canada and that along with the fact that Max pP and Conservatives Split of the Conservative Vote it will give PM Justin the PM’s Office for at least a Generation or even longer.

    Digest that for a minute and think of what 16 more years of PM Justin might mean to Canada, Canadians, Health Care, Deficits, Debt, Employment, Taxes, Income, Corporate, Consumer, Death Duties, Asset, Disposable Income, Illegal Immigration, and much more.

    Scheer is not perfect but he is getting better and he Beats the Hell Out of the Alternative!

    Please DO Not Vote for Max !

  • 29 13 // Feb 23, 2019 at 11:20 am

    @hawg.
    Your right , I found Bob Robs comment distasteful as he tries to compare a wage earner to a wage creator. I know from experience the risk involved in starting your own business and competing inan open free market.
    When the government decides to raise (enter the premium of your choice) you pay both the employers and the employees portion . If the government changes rules and regs that impact your business you need to deal with the costs .
    IF your business fails you can lose everything. If your a success then its usually because of hard work and sacrifice.
    Robs choice to be an employee is not right or wrong, but his concern over his coworkers ability to write off business expenses is baseless.