Commentary | No, really. Tax the rich.

The spotlight may currently be on American economic crises, but financial inequality is also rampant here in Canada, where the top 100 wealthiest CEOs’ wages have increased by over 25 per cent in the last three years. The average of these top 100 CEOs’ salaries – approximately eight million dollars a year – is 189 times that of the average citizen.

It is unacceptable that our federal and provincial governments are cutting funds to education, social services, and non-governmental organizations while not taking advantage of other available sources of funding. Funding that could come from the multi-million dollar salaries of these corporate CEOs, whose companies pay an inadequate proportion of federal taxes.

Given that Canada has the lowest corporate tax rates in the G8, it’s clear that the federal government needs to look to raising taxes on corporations before it cuts essential social programs.

Some recent funding cuts include those to the Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, organizations that are imperative to fighting oppression in our society. Canada needs to take a new direction in limiting these vast inequalities through a fairer tax system – one that redirects these financial resources towards projects that combat marginalization and oppression.

Many argue that increases in corporate tax rates decrease a nation’s quality of life by limiting profits and creating economic stagnation. This argument is short sighted. Sweden, for example, has a progressive taxation system, which allows them to provide free universal daycare and university tuition while having the thirteenth highest GDP per capita in 2011, according to the IMF – Canada has the fourteenth. These kinds of services are not only ethical in the way they create more equal and inclusive communities. They are economically feasible in the way they provide employment. Revenues from progressive taxes can and should be redirected towards social services and the workforce. Furthermore, those who have made huge profits off the back of Canada’s infrastructure and education need to pay for the services they use and support others who are less fortunate.

Currently, the distribution of economic resources in Canada is unjust. It is absurd that some earn multi-million dollar salaries and others are becoming increasingly marginalized by cuts to valuable government programs. Canada has to increase corporate tax rates.


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