Todays’ blog is my yearly off-topic rant. I’d like to present a revolutionary idea for a new type of tax system in Canada. A few points to start:
- It’s political.
- Its my opinion, not necessarily that of my staff.
- I won’t take the time to argue my points in the comments section of this blog. Write your own blog if you feel differently.
- As someone once said: “Just because you are offended, doesn’t mean its wrong!”.
- Trolls – don’t bother. I won’t post your comments.
- The financial figures noted were obtained from sources that I believe to be reliable however, I cannot guarantee they are accurate or complete.
- I’ve provided links within the text for greater detail on many of my points
That said….Sit back and enjoy the ride as I first cover WHY we should examine changing our tax system, and then HOW I propose to change it. A little tongue in cheek may apply as we examine the “HOW” part of this strategy. Enjoy!
PART 1: THE PROBLEM
What’s wrong with this picture?
Canada sports the second highest income taxes in the world. Bad enough, that…But then there’s the 13% HST on top of our after-tax dollars! There’s property taxes (vs. tax deductible in the USA!), investment taxes (gains, dividends, interest), drivers licenses, and plate stickers. There’s custom/import taxes, luxury taxes, parking fees (for roads our taxes supposedly already pay for), land transfer taxes (shockingly high), and other excise taxes. Lets not forget our lovely carbon taxes (now scheduled to rise again!) on top of existing gasoline taxes. How about probate fees, and estate taxes. These, after a lifetime of paying all those other taxes. Incredible, really.
Is it only “the rich” who are paying these tax levels? Not according to Pierre Poilievre: “Right now, low-income people face marginal effective tax rates of up to 80 per cent when you count both the clawbacks and taxes.”
The taxes noted above vastly exceed income taxes, and most of them affect lower/ middle class income earners.
Despite the incredibly high and pervasive taxes in Canada, don’t you dare criticize high tax levels in the presence of some people. You’ll get this response:
“Don’t you like your streets, hospitals, police, sewers, schools, etc.?”
My answer: Yes, I agree that paying taxes for universal access to Medicare, roads, education etc. is desirable.
My beef is not about paying taxes: I would prefer that our tax dollars actually be used for schools, hospitals, streets, etc.
“Improving the condition of only one group has to come at the expense of another group” Lester Thurow
Tax dollars were meant to pay for these things?
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others
This proclamation was made by the pigs who control the government in the novel Animal Farm , by George Orwell . The sentence is a comment on the hypocrisy of socialist governments who propagate equality of their citizens but in reality, give power and privileges to a small elite.
Take the $8.6MM cottage upgrades to allow Trudeau greater comfort while he hid from parliamentary enquiry over COVID spending and the WE scandal. His bedroom conversion alone was $378,711. You and paid for a bedroom reno that cost as much as some peoples entire houses! We paid for a helipad at that cottage because he prefers to be helicoptered to that cottage rather than drive. He also built at our expense a tree house with a zip line, a $9,000 bee farm complete with bee farmers, a $6,000 organic garden, then spent $13,500 to protect the garden. He bought several canoes and boats, and $2,000 to improve the ice on his private skating rink.
How about the latest in a growing list of scandals, like the WE charity contributions by taxpayers that ended up back in his family pockets? Lets not forget about his first two costly ethics scandal’s. Not to mention his narrow escaping another charge via the Norman fiasco. Then there’s the raise he attempted to give himself and MP’s (then shamed into not accepting it) right at the time of COVIDs breakout – when jobs were being lost, and businesses were closing across the nation.
How about the endless vacations, and the chef’s and costume makers he travels with. How about the 2 nanny’s he tried sneaking past the taxpayer, or the money to Aga Khan’s charity followed by the return gift of a personal vacation? On and on….
Trudeau calls business people tax cheats if they write off ineligible items – like a personal expense as a business expense. Well, what does he call spending our tax dollars on his personal pleasures?
Deja vu’ 1981!
Justin learned from the best – his father!
“Don’t you like your streets, hospitals, sewers, schools, etc?”
Forget improving Medicare wait times or improving infrastructure that would benefit Canadians. Instead, Trudeau directed $761MM sent to other countries to enhance their education and family planning. Or how about the $2.6B (that’s with a B!!) sent to the Commonwealth climate change program, the $300MM Rohingya refugee program, the $125MM Caribbean reconstruction program, the $650MM sexual health program in Haiti, the $50MM to Palestine flood relief, the $840MM to Syria, the $4.6B on his botched pipeline negotiations, the $750MM given to to India.
Just this week, the Liberals announced yet another $485MM being given to the WHO for foreign aid outside of our own country. Meanwhile, countless small businesses across the nation close their doors. I’m (almost) speechless!!!!
How about the $600MM gifted to the media who’s union vowed to destroy the Liberal’s competition? Not to mention the continued yearly $1BB donation to the state-media organization, the CBC. Or the private gifts of our tax dollars of $200MM to Loblaws (associated with Weston), or the $370MM to Bombardier “to save jobs”. Bombardier promptly laid thousands of workers off after that little bonus, courtesy of you and I. Not surprising – both Weston and Bombardier, along with SNC (the subject of Trudeaus second Ethics charge) have disproportionately contributed to the Liberal party. A coincidence, of course.
All of this, yet when asked about helping our Canadian war veterans – the claim is that the government cannot afford to help???
There’s no new money for medical system improvement (longest wait periods in the developed world, becoming longer). But we have the money for select private corporations. Recently, the Fed gave $200MM to Gateway Casino.
Elections B.C. political contribution disclosures show that Gateway Casinos & Entertainment donated $218,902 to the BC Liberal Party between 2015 and 2017, and that the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. had donated $127,413 during that period. Another coincidence, of course.
You just bought a car
Not long ago, Trudeau, along with Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford, gifted nearly $600MM of your tax dollars so Ford Motor Co. could build electric cars, then sell them for $5000 less than their sticker price. Gee, that’s nice. This is using your share of the tax bill to pay for a car that you’ve not authorized, and may not purchase. Its a cost born by you and I – benefitting only those who actually buy the car. Oh, and the corporation, of course.
Question: What right does a government have to spend our money so indiscriminately?
To paraphrase Dr. Brian Lee Crowley (Managing Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute):
There is an incorrect assumption by citizens in Canada that the government “knows best” as to how to spend our money. This assumption fails to recognize that the knowledge of one small group of politicians cannot possibly match the knowledge of millions of citizens. Citizens from all walks of life form a collective skillset and intelligence that exceeds a small group of elitists.
A politician cannot, and should not, be free to act outside of basic society needs without some type of consultative process.
PART 2: THE SOLUTION
Here’s the tax returns we are used to:
The new tax return – for kicks and giggles
What if your total tax bill this year was (for example) $30,000. Wouldn’t it be great if it was itemized? For fun – lets make an imaginary breakdown that might be reported on your income tax return. I truly believe I am massively understating the discretionary figures in this example. Of your imaginary $30,000 tax bill, you receive the following financial statement:
Here’s a question for you: Were we to pay our taxes after an itemized report like the above, how much more attention would you pay to Justin Trudeaus spending decisions?
Let me ask you another question. If you received this tax bill, and knew that a good portion of your money was being used for expenses that you did not endorse or agree with, how would you react?
Make governments report just like a corporation
What if our personal net costs of government expenses were presented to us every year in a fully disclosed manner for scrutiny? What if an independent audit disallowed expenses that didn’t fall into ‘allowable expenses”. You know, like personal benefits to an MP? Those expenses would be paid back by the bad guys who tried sneaking them through…like any tax cheat has to.
What if taxes were used only for what they are meant to cover – expenses like roads, education, police, fire, Medicare, etc? In this way, Justin would be held to the same standards as a business is. He’d have to pay for his personal pleasures just like we do…with his OWN money! BTW – this would go for all politicians.
The political donor card
Perhaps you like the idea of helping an MP upgrade his cottage. Here’s how you could do it without infringing on the rights of your fellow Canadians! Picture a new twist on the donor portion of your drivers license. Here’s what we have now:
The new tax donor card
The Canadian Revolution
The truth behind the American revolution was not that the “rebels” rejected taxes. They rejected taxes that would go to a king with no benefit to themselves. They rejected having their money taken and spent without direct and fair representation of how that money would be distributed. Sound familiar?
I reject the concept that Justin Trudeau and his government have the “right” to use our tax dollars for anything that extends beyond law and order, military, health, education and multi-use infrastructure. Further: Charitable contributions to foreign entities, private corporations, special interest groups, etc. should be by choice of the individual. Like my proposed donor card.
I believe that even the most die-hard Justin fan would reconsider the expenses this government has placed upon them if it were itemized on their tax returns. Moreover, I believe that even his most loyal voters might not be so willing to write that optional cheque (per my proposed donor card) for personal chefs and bee farms. Nor for foreign nations, and corporate donations. But…. if they did wish to gift Justin some of their money to help buy that new zipline at the cottage, or to buy Loblaws some refrigerators, then what the heck. Its their decision!
We must reject Justin Trudeau and his “right” to use our tax dollars beyond their original purpose.
Justin Trudeau has crowned himself king, and then stole from the people. It is time for a Canadian revolution.
Liar, liar, pants on fire!
“I believe in fiscal responsibility, and I, quite frankly, I think Liberals who believe that the government should be doing things well and should be doing some certain things are more motivated to therefore do them well, do them responsibly, not going to massive deficits the way certain other governments who have been less motivated to deliver good government have” – Justin Trudeau on CNN’s Foreign Affairs show in 2014 when campaigning on a $10 billion deficit.
Hi Keith, Thank you for this “rant” Blog (and actually all your blogs!) … this one succinctly puts into words the indignation I feel every time I hear about the goings on in Ottawa. I too am constantly astounded by the cult of personality of Trudeau –
rendering his supporters blind to the excesses and poor judgement of his government.
Well said! We need change in this country, not just the political party, but the way the government is to function financially
Hi Keith: You put some serious time into this rant and I applaud you for that. I have been shaking my head for five years and 60 days that we could have someone as incompetent as our current PM in the throne of Prime Minister. Have a Merry Christmas anyway.
Unfortunately he will get another majority. For some reason twice as many women vote for him compared to men. Trudeau’s infrastructure bank he set up has been a disaster. In order to promote it, Trudeau has been going to municipalities offering to pay for half of the cost of new electric buses. These buses cost 5 times the amount of a diesel bus. Of course municipalities are taken advantage of this since Trudeau is offering to pay for half. There is only one taxpayer! Plus the charging stations cost 1 million dollars per bus! Some buses will need more than one station depending on the length of the bus route. The City of Ottawa just bought 4 of these buses for over 9 million bucks. Ten years ago the purchased 170 hybrid buses for a good chunk of change. They just scrapped them all because they were too expensive to run and maintain. Now they are buying these electric buses not knowing if they will run in cold weather, or replacement of the battery etc. What a joke. Climate change is the biggest scam perpetrated on mankind. People are drinking the Trudeau kool aid. The same clowns ie Butts that advised the ontario liberal government to build solar and wind power are advising Trudeau. Billions of dollars were lost due to the green energy act. Solar and wind power do not even produce enough electricity to power 100,000 homes. Yet Trudeau is taking us down this path. The guy is a joke. Like Gates he is padding his foundation. Canadians are too stupid to realize what is going on.
Ahah nice post. In fact the main problem is communication and this suggestion would be a good way to patch a part of the problem. More accountability and better education (another problem) for the population also about the complex question (not so complex after all) of where goes my money?
Finally, I suggest also to make the same exercice for each of us regarding revenues (and not expenses like in a budget).
1- Write down every day of the week on a paper in a different square.
2- Divide your annual revenues by the number of days you work in a week (ex.5)
3- Write down what each hour you work is equal to which expense equivalent. Ok so every monday you wake up to pay your luxury car? Ok each tuesday and wednesday you wake up to pay taxes ? Interesting.
Next time you wake up, you might think of how decisions (yours and government) impact your week.
Have a merry xmas,
Happy 77th Birthday to the legendary Keith Richards. May your Stones keep Rolling. 😀
It is so refreshing to hear someone lay out the corruption and waste of government in plain English! It sickens me that politicians believe themselves to be so much smarter than the people who they essentially work for. If Trudeau worked in the private sector he would certainly be fired if not jailed. Thanks so much for posting this and I will certainly pass it on to everyone I know!!!!!
I really enjoy your regular Blogs and respect you for the time and effort you put into them. I am definitely considering having you and your firm look after my investments.
The ONE thing that stops me from doing this is the ‘over-the-top’ political and ‘Trump’ian’ views that you, personally, seem to have. Your current RANT is the most egregious yet in my view. I am most definitely not a Trudeau or Harper or whomever supporter so I am not trying to grind an axe here.
I simply find that extreme views of any stripe are not something I would support….morally or financially.
I thought you should hear my thoughts…..delete if you will.
All the best for the holidays.
I never had any interest in politics for most of my life, and for most of my career. I’ve been in this business through Chretien Liberals, NDP in Ontario, etc–never really cared. Its only this government that has inspired me to say something. Take that for what its worth
Re business–personally, I agnostically give my business to people who have opposing politics to me, not based on anything beyond their ability to get the job done. The local farm I buy from has a history of deep involvement with political parties I don’t agree with – still, they have great veggies! Several of my clients are far-left and are quite aware of my views, but the bottom line to them is that I do the job they hire me for.
I totally agree! If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, then we would be at the polls. I’m beyond fed up with Trudeau!
First I will state, at one time or another I have voted for each of the major parties in this country so maybe my views are less biased then some. I respect anyone’s right to express their opinion if that opinion is respectfully offered as it is here.
I believe many of Keith’s statements could be used during any time period. Substitute the government of the day, change the scandal name or the suspect expense and/or the amount and Keith’s arguments could be made to some degree of any democratic government around the world at any time in history.
As alluded to here (above comments), the process seems flawed and most people seem to get that part of the equation but the difficulty is in solving the equation because of all the variables. The variables being us, all the different interest groups, economic classes, races etc., etc.
One of the key problems with democracies is we expect our elected officials to meet our societal needs but that is not what we really hire them to do. We really are hiring (electing) them to get rehired (re-elected) in 4 years. Now we can argue all day long that there should not be a distinction between our expectations and the results but clearly all around the world it has been proven there is a distinction, a flaw shall we say.
One answer is dictatorship but I think all of us in the “free world” will agree we don’t want to go there. Not with standing what some Americans seem to be pushing for right now. That topic well….., well I will just leave it!
The American process does high light some issues that could arise if we gave our elected officials longer terms though. The answer is very complex because the answer will always involve humans (yes becoming arguable itself) and we know how complex we are.
We need to ask our collective selves why are we hiring “a government”, what defined job/roll are we really going to give them and how are we going to not only measure, but steer their performance to ensure they fulfill their given roll within our company (Canada)?
Keith love your rants! Can’t say I agree with everything you stated in this one but at the same time I can’t say I disagree with anything you wrote. Discussion is a good starting point!!
the best article of the year Keith, and especially pertinent, coming from an easterner!
we need your explanation of why the east persists in electing the liberals, when they’ve proven to be such a disaster for the country1
My family (moms side) is from the east–many in industries like fishing etc that rely on social assistance programs when things dry up–which can lead into a left wing bias.
Thanks for presenting many facts that most of us would never be aware of.
While Justin is likely the worst offender in recent memory, the unfortunate thing is any political party is likely to abuse tax money given to them in trust. Even the supposed fiscally responsible conservative party I’m sure has abuses.
I don’t think there is much individual tax payers can truly do. Someone needs to take a leadership role to give the mass of individuals a collective power.
One possible hope could be the Canadian Taxpayer Federation. They state “We’re already planning a Canada-wide campaign to bring the National Debt Clock to every single province. We’ll do dozens of media interviews and roll out a big social media campaign.” But they will need some white knight to join them in their cause, and be willing to spend big bucks to organize us individuals into one voice. Until such happens I am not optimitic we can stop this cheating against us tax payers.
Stay safe everyone and hope that 2021 will bring a brighter and more prosperous future.
Sadly, there is one politician who would be financially responsible- but he has little chance of election. Maxime Bernier is the right guy in the wrong country.
Totally agree with your choice, and chances of him getting elected anywhere but the beause.
Canada’s is hopelessly left wing. Even our conservative governments are more center right.
Mr. Richards, I was so pleased with the premise of your argument that the tax forms should be informational about how and where the government in power spends our hard earned money. Where you totally lost me and many electors that don’t take the time to comment is when you made it a personal political diatribe against Trudeau. Not that I am a fan of our current Prime Minister.
Your ideas have merit for any federal or provincial government at any time in the past or possible future no matter the Prime Minister or government in power. If you want your idea to transform the way governments are held accountable for their spending don’t make it a personal political diatribe with snide remarks.
Very few people have the power to change how governments act. Snide personal political remarks, no matter how true they may be will not empower you or anyone that believes in your project to implement your proposed changes.
Wonderful blog. And I agree with everything you write. One problem though. The BC Liberal Party is not affiliated with the Federal Liberal Party. The BC Libs are more like the Conservatives than the Libs.