Opinion Column

Quit trying to pull the fleece over Canadians eyes on tax changes

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

I don’t like being played for an idiot.

 

I’m sure that’s something everyone can relate to. Who does like being told they know nothing by people who know nothing and understand little about ourselves?

Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen from time to time, but I certainly didn’t expect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau to try and pull the fleece over Canadians’ eyes with their proposed tax changes.

With a number of Liberal MPs openly voicing their concern – disagreement, even – on the changes, I thought surely amendments at the very least would be on their way. When Parliament resumed last Monday, however, it was much of the same rhetoric we’ve been hearing since the proposed changes were released in the summer.

They’re there to somehow eliminate loopholes, they say, that allow Canada’s wealthiest to cheat the system. There’s nothing wrong with asking the top one per cent to pay their fair share, as if they don’t already.

I don’t know a lot about taxes, but there are tidbits of information I pick up from my mom, who is a tax professional herself. Newsflash, dudes – the wealthy already pay more. That’s how the tax system works.

The top 10 per cent of income earners pay 55 per cent of all income tax paid to the provincial and federal government. The top one per cent, pays 22 per cent. By comparison, the bottom 50 per cent pay less than five per cent of all tax sent to provincial and federal governments. Did they really think people don’t know this information, or can’t look it up?

According to Morneau, however, those of us who have a problem with tax changes – family farmers, doctors, entrepreneurs – simply don’t understand them. Yes, we’re all idiots, unable to do our own research. We don’t know how to read. He and Justin Trudeau know more about taxes than the tax experts advocating against this.

I didn’t wake up this morning as Jon Snow. I know a thing or two about things that are not socks and selfies. As a journalist, I know a lot about research and talking to people who are actually in the know about the changes they want to ram through.

They really want Canadians to believe these taxes are an attack on the wealthy, but ironically, corporate firms on Bay Street are exempt from these changes. Aren’t they the wealthy?

And what of family trusts and corporate companies both Trudeau and Morneau use to shield their families’ wealth, which is certainly a lot more than most of us could hope to have? They say they want to make sure that those who are well compensated don’t pay a lower tax rate, and yet that applies to everyone but themselves?

Or the fact that Morneau has a numbered company in Alberta, which has the lowest tax rate?

Who’s a greedy, tax cheat now?

You know that saying “don’t go to the plumber for tax advice?” Well apparently you shouldn’t go to the Prime Minister or Finance Minister for it either. That’s just a tad concerning.

It isn’t Canadians who know nothing – it’s them. If only they knew that.

 



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