Monday, May 28, 2007

Bills unpaid

In case David MacLean hadn't had a bad enough day already, he's also managed to embarrass himself under his own name again with his stance on the Cons' latest gimmick.

From the CP's coverage, here's what MacLean is applauding:
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Revenue Minister Carol Skelton said Monday the ombudsman will operate as an independent adviser to the government and will deal with complaints from taxpayers about the department's handling of their cases.

The ombudsman will be appointed later this year and is to be operating this fall with 40 offices across the country, Skelton said.

The minister could not say what the new bureaucracy would cost, other than to say its expenses would be absorbed by the current budget of the Canada Revenue Agency...

The 15-point bill of taxpayer rights - expanding on a 1985 declaration by the former Mulroney government - includes a promise of professional, courteous and fair dealings, as well as the right to an explanation after a complaint and "relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation because of extraordinary circumstances."
In case there's any doubt, the current budget of the Canada Revenue Agency is the same one which was already so short of resources that $18 billion in back taxes stood uncollected. Yet in the Cons' view, that gross amount of outstanding tax revenue was somehow evidence that the CRA needed to be distracted from even the amount of collection that it's able to carry out now.

Meanwhile, the so-called "Taxpayers Bill of Rights" does nothing more than add the Harper Cons' distinctive brand of fluff language to a document that's already existed since 1985.

Of course, the CTF may well be happy in the short term if tax avoidance becomes easier - particularly if it spreads far enough to end the "overtaxation" (in the form of surpluses) that MacLean and his ilk seem to despise so much. But it should be obvious that perhaps the most important of the ideals which the Cons are supposedly pursuing - namely consistent application of the law - will only become all the more distant due to the Cons' latest stunt. And nobody who's actually concerned with fairness for the Canadian taxpaying public should be happy with that outcome.

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