August 24th, 2023
NDP calls for special committee to deal with tax avoidance
Dear Minister Bibeau,
First of all, I would like to formally congratulate you on your new role as Minister of National Revenue. As the NDP critic for Tax Fairness, I look forward to working with you to ensure that the ultra-wealthy are paying their fair share of taxes, so that we can curb the rampant inequality that we are seeing across our country and reinvest in the social safety net Canadians rely on. With the Liberal caucus retreat taking place this week that claims to be focused on making life more affordable, we need to be honest about where your government has come up short and what the NDP expects you to do about it.
The truth is that the billionaire class is not paying their share, and your government needs to stop working with the Conservatives to stack the deck for the ultra-wealthy.
Let’s look at the facts.
In 2021, as the richest companies in the country announced record profits to their shareholders, they managed to push their tax rate lower, avoiding $30 billion in taxes. The effective tax rate for the richest in this country is the lowest it’s ever been. The 2021 effective tax rate for 123 of Canada’s biggest corporations fell to 15 per cent from an average of 19 per cent for 2017 to 2019. At the same time, the pre-tax profits of these companies skyrocketed by 60 per cent.
And all of this is so predictable. Your government has consistently looked the other way while Canadian corporations hide their money in tax havens. Canadian assets in the top 16 tax haven jurisdictions now conservatively surpassed $400 billion. That number has increased by $126 billion since the early days of Justin Trudeau’s government.
And when the NDP proposed legislation to close these types of loopholes, your government sided with the Conservatives to ensure billionaires like the Irvings continue to get a free ride. This happens time and time again.
Which is why it is so galling that we see the CRA’s continued attacks on working people and people on fixed incomes. I’ve spoken with people in my riding and across the country who received onerous clawbacks to supports they rely on, like their Canada Child Benefits. A PBO report from March 2022 pointed out how relatively poor Canada is at capturing corporate income tax compared to other countries. This must change.
And it’s not lost on us in the NDP how much the Liberal government looks the other way when large corporations mischaracterize their workers to get out of paying fair wages, benefits and taxes. This is all too common in many industries, including in the trucking industry where your department promised to release a strategy to crack down on this exploitation and support workers taken advantage by the “Drivers Inc.” scam but have failed to do so.
Minister, I urge you to work with your caucus colleagues and in particular, the finance minister to increase the corporate tax rate so that corporations pay their fair share, crack down on tax havens, close loopholes billionaires rely on, tie executive pay to worker salaries, and implement a wealth tax.
And if you are truly interested in cracking down on corporate and billionaire tax avoidance, I urge you to work with the NDP and create a special committee to investigate the use of tax havens by Canadian corporations as the NDP has called for in the past.
Once again, congratulations on your appointment to this file and I look forward to working with you.
MP Niki Ashton – Churchill—Keewatinook Aski
NDP Critic for Tax Fairness