Green Party Candidate for Vancouver-East on Taxation

Bridget Burns, Candidate for Vancouver-East Green Party of Canada

Thank you so much to Bridget Burns, Candidate for Vancouver-East Green Party of Canada, for being the first to respond to our recent email, “Let’s Commit to Comprehensive Tax Reform.”

We have posted Ms Burns’ response in full so that everyone can read about the GPC’s platform regarding taxes and tax reform.

Please feel free to comment or share your own thoughts below!


Dear Dennis,

This is our position on taxation:

In a Green economy, everyone contributes their fair share to the collective wellbeing. Today, the growing gap between rich and poor indicates that something is wrong. The burden of taxation is not fairly distributed. A Green government will undertake root-and-branch tax reform: 

• Establish an arm’s length Federal Tax Commission to analyze the tax system for fairness and accessibility, based on the principle of progressive taxation. The last Tax Commission was in the 1960s, so reform is long overdue. This will include recommending an appropriate way to tax cryptocurrencies. 

• Close tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy. The stock option loophole is one of the most expensive and unfair tax loopholes. Executives with stock options as part of their remuneration package only pay half the rate of income tax on this portion of their income. The capital gains loophole allows people and corporations to only add half of their capital gains to their taxable income, while those with only employment income pay taxes on their entire income. Over 90 per cent of the value of this tax break goes to the richest 10 per cent, and about 85 per cent goes to the top one per cent. 

• End offshore tax dodging by taxing funds hidden in offshore havens and requiring companies to prove that their foreign affiliates are actual functioning businesses for tax purposes. Provide adequate funding to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to collect tax revenue hiding in offshore tax havens. Several Auditors General have recommended that the CRA should focus on people who hide vast wealth, rather than conduct random audits of ordinary Canadians. 

• Apply a corporate tax on transnational e-commerce companies doing business in Canada by requiring the foreign vendor to register, collect and remit taxes where the product or service is consumed. The e-commerce sector – giants like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Uber command a significant share of the Canadian market but pay virtually no tax. 

• Impose a financial transactions tax of 0.2 per cent in the finance sector as France has done since 2012. 

• Eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies, including payments and tax write-offs, valued at several billion dollars annually. These include the accelerated capital cost allowance on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and tax write-offs for oil and gas wells, coal mining exploration and development, flow-through share deductions for coal, oil and gas projects, and oil and gas properties. Despite a promise 10 years ago to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel companies, these subsidies have actually expanded for fracking and LNG development. 

• Increase the federal corporate tax rate from 15 to 21 per cent to bring it into line with the federal rate in the United States, our biggest trading partner. Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada, said corporations are holding “hundreds of billions of dollars in their bank accounts,” rather than reinvesting in the economy. This dead money needs to be mobilized for the transition to a green, renewable economy. 

• Maintain the current level of taxation for small business. 

• Charge a five per cent surtax on commercial bank profits. Commercial banks accumulate huge profits – $43.15 billion for the five largest banks in 2018 alone. 15 Credit unions, caisses populaires and co-ops will be exempt. 

• Prohibit Canadian businesses from deducting the cost of advertising on foreign-owned sites such as Google and Facebook which now account for 80 per cent of all spending on advertising Canada. 

• Eliminate the 50 per cent corporate meals and entertainment expense deduction, which includes season tickets and private boxes at sporting events. 

• Increase the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers.

Bridget BURNS

Candidate for Vancouver-East Green Party of Canada @votebridgetb