Dewar on taxes

Paul Dewar talks to the Toronto Star editorial board.

On taxes:
What I call tax justice in this country. The corporate tax level is down to 15 per cent; obviously I think that should be increased to 19.5 per cent. That keeps us competitive with our competitors. Tax havens, between 2000 and 2008, $17 billion left our country for foreign shores — and that was just from our banks. I’d like to see that dealt with. I’d like to see us look at a financial transactions tariff, which is being contemplated in Europe.

What about hiking personal income tax?
I’d like to fix the leaks in our system before I look at that. I have no problem in looking at an increase in personal income tax if I knew that it was going to stay in revenues and I say that because there are ways, which many people are probably aware of, to avoid taxes. So the first thing you need to look at is tax loopholes.

How much would all that raise?
I couldn’t tell you to a dime. But I can tell you in the case of tax havens we’re talking more than $20 billion, I can tell you in the case of the corporate tax level that we’re talking tens of billions of dollars and I can tell you in the case of the financial transactions tariff a very conservative estimate is about $4 billion dollars.

The NDP proposed a crackdown on tax havens in last year’s election. At the time, they booked $1 billion in new revenue for the current fiscal year, rising to $3.2 billion in 2014-2015. Ira Basen deemed that “wishful accounting.” The Liberals posed various questions.

The Harper government proposed in its 2007 budget to deal with tax havens and a few months later, the Finance Minister explained the “Anti-Tax-Haven Initiative.” Two years later, following the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Canada’s System of International Taxation, the Harper government repealed the “double dip” restrictions.

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