What if we kept the carbon tax, and got rid of the GST instead?
The term “revenue-neutral” has gotten a bit mixed up in the recent controversy surrounding the government’s carbon pricing plan.
Unfortunately for Conservative MP Michael Chong, that term might now be tainted for the foreseeable future.
There has been much buzz about the recent phenomenon of conservative provincial election victories. Trudeau came into office with seven Liberal premiers and two NDP premiers. There are now seven conservative premiers, one NDP-Green quasi-coalition, and two Liberal premiers.
One of those Liberals is Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball, who will be up for re-election on May 16. He faces yet another conservative leader calling for a referendum on equalization payments, promising to defend the province’s oil industry from Ottawa, and accusing the premier of being too cozy with Trudeau.
Regardless of what ends up happening on the Rock on election day, the real anticipation is October’s federal election. It is hard to remember if there has ever been a more anticipated federal election with this many months left to go. Canadian politics tends to fall by the wayside between elections, and it is usually the Americans who have year-long campaigns.
If the Conservatives win the election in October, which is far from a foregone conclusion, the fate of the carbon tax will be high on the agenda. Canadians who will have voted for the tories over that issue will be expecting their “carbon tax repealed” headline in the news.
But maybe those voters would be just as happy with a headline that reads “GST repealed” instead. One of (but not the only) criticism of the carbon tax has been that it is not actually revenue-neutral, and that it merely just forces the government to spend all of the extra revenue.
Revenue-neutrality doesn’t mean you collect more then promise to spend it all. It means you collect more, then you collect less elsewhere. Michael Chong, during the Conservative leadership campaign, advocated for a carbon tax made revenue neutral through corporate and income tax cuts.
Michael Chong is not the leader of the opposition, showing that Conservative voters did not buy his idea. His proposal, however, now has a ‘status quo’ advantage that it did not have during the campaign — something that he will probably be eager to point out within our hypothetical tory government caucus.
Cutting income taxes would probably not settle any of the carbon tax anxiety until at least a year after the cuts, and cutting corporate taxes may never even be noticed by the general population.
Regardless of which tax is cut, the goal should be to ensure that the revenue collected through the carbon tax is the same amount of revenue no longer collected because of tax cuts elsewhere. It is just my personal opinion that a cut to GST would seem more concrete and would make for a better headline.
It would be a great headline to write.
Devan Bracci-Selvey, 14, was murdered by two of his fellow students on October 7, 2019. The boy was stabbed to death while waiting for his mother to pick him up outside Sir Winston Churchill School in Hamilton.
Today an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old were brought before a Hamilton courtroom to face charges of first-degree murder.
The Crown dropped the murder charge laid against the 18-year-old suspect. Investigators believed the 14-year-old suspect was the one who wielded the knife.
Four teens were arrested in total following the incident but two were later released without charge.
Shari-Ann, mother of 14-year-old Devan confirmed that she witnessed the stabbing herself in an interview with CP24 News.
Both of the suspect’s identities have been protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act that bans publications from printing the names of minors.
The 14-year-old suspect still has the charge of first-degree murder pending.
The murder has led to a review of anti-bullying procedures throughout the Hamilton-Wentworth School Board. Shari-Ann Bracci-Selvey said the bullying of her son was well documented and that the teachers at the school were aware of it. Devan would sometimes refuse to go to school as a result of his bullies his mother said.
According to a Tennessee couple, a man hacked into their Ring security camera system and was talking to their daughter through it while pretending to be Santa.
Young Alyssa LeMay only had the system in her room for about four days when the chilling incident occurred. According to WMC News, she first heard Christmas music playing.
Alyssa said, “First, what happened I was in the hallway I thought it was my sister because I hear music. So I come upstairs and I hear some banging noise and I was like, ‘Who is that?’”
A voice then responded, “I’m your best friend. I’m Santa Claus.”
Alyssa shouted to her mother asking for help, and the hacker continued to speak to the child saying, “I’m Santa Claus, Don’t you want to be my best friend?”
According to the parents, the voice which sounded male, was telling the young girl to behave destructively.
Alyssa’s mother Ashley LeMay noted, “They could have watched them sleeping, changing. I mean they could have seen all kinds of things.”
In a statement, Ring wrote, “While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security. Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services.”
Jasmine Pickel is an entrepreneur and the Interim Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Our politicians are addicted to spending. Even though they speak poetically about their good intentions and virtue signal whilst cheque-signing on our behalf, much of that spending is wasteful and sinks us further into debt.
Here are five phrases that usually indicate that a politician is about to waste your money.
1) Politicians will say they’re “investing”
When politicians say they’re investing government money, what they really mean is that they’re spending taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, politicians at all levels of government in this country have a poor track record in this regard.
In Newfoundland, the government lost $260,000 when it tried to operate a Tim Hortons. Likewise, the Ontario government lost $42 million trying to sell marijuana.
Given that governments can’t make money selling double-doubles or weed brownies, they should let taxpayers keep more of their own money to invest it themselves.
2) “It’s not a spending problem–it’s a revenue problem!”
Imagine saying that in the context of your own life – that it’s not your fault you spent so much, it’s just that your job doesn’t pay what you’d like to spend. Unfortunately, our politicians just keep adding to our credit card bill.
A recent Ontario government report shows why it is in fact a spending problem. It found that Ontario would have spent $330 billion less in the 15-year period the former Liberal government was in power if it had simply kept spending in line with population growth.
Instead, spending increased in real terms by $2,200 per person, and now Ontario’s debt has surpassed $350 billion, making the province the largest subnational debtor on the planet.
Politicians love painting deficits as a revenue problem so they can raise taxes. Don’t fall for it. Tell politicians to manage their own budgets instead of taking more out of yours.
3) Politicians say they’re spending to “help the middle class”
While big government apologists like to pretend all of our tax dollars go toward vital services such as health care and education, the reality is that politicians will often take tax money from hard working Canadians to hand it over to large, profitable corporations.
Take for example the $12 million the Trudeau government gave to Loblaws to buy more energy efficient fridges (even though the company posted net earnings exceeding $800 million that fiscal year). That’s nothing in comparison to the $4 billion of taxpayer money that has been given to Bombardier though, a company owned by one of Canada’s wealthiest families worth close to $3 billion.
Taxes are the single largest expense for most Canadians, taking up approximately 45 percent of the average Canadian’s annual household income. If politicians really wanted to help the middle class, they’d stop giving corporate welfare handouts and instead lower our taxes.
4) Politicians justify their overspending by saying they’re on “a responsible path to budgetary balance”
Translation: “We’re going to keep adding to the debt for the next few years at least.” There’s simply nothing responsible about overspending, especially in good economic times.
In fact, it’s very irresponsible for politicians to ignore the opportunity costs of running up large debts. For example, this year Ontario will spend about $13 billion on interest payments. That’s more money than it will spend on colleges and universities put together!
Politicians should stop making excuses as to why they can’t balance budgets, and they should start paying down the debt.
5) Politicians say “we can keep spending as long as the debt-to-GDP ratio stays in check”
Although this is a favourite excuse used by our current prime minister, the reality is that this economic ratio isn’t reliable. For example, if Canada were to encounter tough economic times and our debt were to increase more sharply than planned, the ratio would be thrown out of whack. All of a sudden, we’d be in a position where we’d be saying “wow, we really need to pay down debt, but now we’re not in a financial position to do so.”
Conversely, even if our GDP were to increase sharply thereby lowering the ratio relative to our G7 counterparts, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more spending is justifiable or a good idea.
Canadians live within their means. It’s time our politicians followed suit.
Sue Wereham, manager of the Riff’s department store had a heartwarming story to share with CBC last weekend. The Clareville manager received a phone call from an anonymous woman wondering if she could pay off some of her fellow citizens’ tabs at the store.
Although the woman remained nameless, she came into the layaway counter over the weekend. “She just walked on out of here,” Wareham told CBC. “I don’t who she is. She’s just a kind, kind person.”
The woman explained to Wareham that she and her husband didn’t want to exchange gifts the year but would rather pay for four or five people’s purchases from both Riff’s location in Gander and Clarenville.
“I have told so many people about the kindness of this couple. It’s unbelievable. People do get so angry and frustrated this time of year and just seeing somebody calm and thoughtful, it’s a wonderful feeling.” Wareham said.
The Christmas holidays can be difficult for everybody and working in the retail industry can be stressful as well. People are often stressed about their finances and schedules but this was a moment of smiles and tears of joy.
Wareham said that it was a gift to everyone, including other patrons of the store just watch the lucky customers find out their bill had been taken care of. Wareham said that there was more that herself and others had been brought to tears by it.
“I couldn’t believe it. I thought that’s the true meaning of Christmas, just being kind to other people. It made me cry, just that somebody would be so kind and thoughtful to do that sort of thing.” Wareham said.