Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Linda McQuaig tears into the Cons for exacerbating the gap between the too-rich-to-pay-taxes class and the rest of us:
Ordinary citizens diligently spend hours calculating their income and deductions and meticulously filling out forms, fearful of the probing eye and relentless reach of the tax man. At the same time, some of our richest citizens quietly park billions of dollars on faraway islands where the sun delightfully reaches but the tax man delightfully doesn’t.
The enormity of the scam that tax havens offer the tax-evading rich — and the horrendous hole they leave in national coffers around the world — has long been known and largely ignored, even as governments obsess about the resulting deficits. That’s because the rich have managed to convince us that the shortfalls should be made up by the hapless saps who diligently fill out their returns, and by government employees who have the audacity not to be working in the private sector.
In reality, the [bilateral treaties favoured by the Cons]were so poorly designed they’ve been virtually useless in making it harder for Canadians to hide money offshore.
On the contrary, they’ve actually opened the floodgates to tax haven use. That’s because, once a tax haven country has signed one of these (largely useless) bilateral treaties, it qualifies for special treatment under the new Harper rules, allowing multinational corporations to route their profits through the tax haven, thereby avoiding Canadian corporate tax.
For the Harperites to claim they’re clamping down on tax havens would be like claiming a clampdown on bank robberies by setting up a turn-in-a-robber snitch line, while at the same time providing robbers with instruction manuals on cracking safes.
- Meanwhile, Barbara Yaffe notes that the Cons' deliberate attacks on the CRA (particularly when it comes to its ability to pursue tax evaders) only serve to make the general public cynical about our revenue collection system - presumably fitting the Cons' longer-term goal of undermining trust in our public institutions. Jason Fekete reports on the gap between the Cons' rhetoric on tax enforcement, and their choice to impose hundreds of millions of dollars in new cuts to the CRA. And Scott Klinger writes that the U.S. faces a similar problem of individuals being forced to pick up the bill for corporate and elite tax giveaways.

- Thomas Walkom highlights the other most prominent example of the Cons using the power of the state to grind down workers for the benefit of plutocrats - being of course their choice to encourage the corporate sector to import cheaper labour rather than training and employing Canadians:
This is the dirty little secret about job-training in Canada. Employers don’t train workers because most don’t have to.
They expect government to train workers at public cost. And if that doesn’t work, businesses expect government to let them import from abroad workers who are already trained.
(A)side from a few vague mutterings, the Conservative government does not seem prepared to seriously scale back temporary worker programs that allow business to cherry-pick cheap labour from abroad.

If companies knew they couldn’t import, say, skilled pipefitters from Europe, they might put more effort into training domestic workers to meet their needs.
But employers know they don’t have to train. Instead, they need only wait until the last minute and then complain of labour shortages.
Over the last decade, as my friends at the Globe and Mail have reported, the number of temporary workers admitted to Canada has more than tripled, from 101,000 to 338,000.
This in the midst of the worst recession since the 1930s.
Business insists that such workers are needed because skilled Canadians are unavailable. But far too often the real reason is that foreign workers are willing to work for less.
- And Sunny Freeman discusses the Wall government's simultaneous and concerted effort to put the screws to Saskatchewan workers.

- Finally, Daniel Beland offers an accurate look at how Saskatchewan's electoral boundary revision process has (fairly and properly) played out. And needless to say, the province's Con MPs are up in arms over the possibility of fairness finding its way into the federal political system.


  1. Anonymous10:46 AM

    I think Linda McQuaig is naive. The offshore tax evaders are major contributors to Conservative and other mainstream party coffers. The Canadian government will take no meaningful action against these evaders since it would interfere with the financing of political parties.

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