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Letter: Let’s hear some outrage over tax dodging

This is in response to the recent Brian Jones column on tax fairness (“‘Tax fairness’ flops, new strategy needed,” Nov. 3).

We enjoyed his well-placed mockery of the St. John’s Board of Trade and the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council.  We are so tired of their one broken mantra: lower the taxes.
The truth of the matter is, lower taxes requires that everyone first pay their fair share. Tax avoidance punishes those who dutifully pay what is expected.

Even a casual acquaintance with the recent revelations of the “Paradise Papers” shows how easy it is for the rich to hide their money and to avoid paying taxes. Some of what they do may be “legal” in the strict sense of that word, but it is certainly not ethical and is clearly hostile to the greater good of society.

Where is the outrage from our business and employer groups when the Paradise Papers reveal that over 3,000 super-wealthy Canadians and companies benefited from offshore tax havens?

Even the Conference Board of Canada, a favourite of the Employers’ Council, says, “When some individuals and companies do not pay their fair share of taxes, it increases the burden of funding public services on compliant taxpayers.”

Why do our business groups ignore the fact that those who earn $150,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador pay significantly less income tax than is the case in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia?

Conservative estimates reckon Canada loses $6 billion in tax revenue annually. This is a significant theft of revenue that belongs in the public purse. Six billion dollars would allow Canada to invest in an extra 200,000 affordable child-care spaces that would benefit young, hard-working Canadian families. Six billion dollars would help address rising health-care costs or invest in pharmacare — programs that would benefit all Canadians.

Our business organizations are always quick to denounce a petty increase in minimum wage that would help low-income, working Canadians, yet they remain silent when the ultra-rich knowingly avoid paying their taxes, in such a massive way. This is despicable.
The battle against tax avoidance and for tax fairness must remain a priority.


Marilyn Porter
Social Justice Co-operative NL
St. John’s

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