Editorial Board 1999-2000
It's payback time, Martin
It's payback time, Martin
Canada's Finance Minister, Paul Martin, announced yesterday the Canadian government is sitting on a huge piggy bank, but a vague set of plans illustrate too many fingers might be awarded a share.
Martin, in London to make the announcement, said the Liberal government is expecting a $95 billion surplus over the next five years, the result of an intense increase in taxes and cuts in social spending over the last decade. He promised to cut taxes with this new found wealth, but did not specifically indicate any kind of plan.
In his announcement, however, Martin did commit to balance tax cuts and social programs. However, it is clear this is impossible. If the Canadian government thinks they can please both sides, they are sadly mistaken.
The time is ripe to provide tax relief to Canadians. The tax levels in this country have soared over the last decade in the government's attempt to erase the deficit and now this is a chance to give something back.
There is obviously nothing wrong with social spending and providing for those less fortunate. However, in this case the country's lagging economy has to be addressed. The government finally has a chance to make the country a haven for investment, but it seems their plans of dividing the surplus will only further Canada's woes.
The "brain drain" has become all too common a phrase in our society, but an inevitable one based on our country's tax system. Canadians are escaping the tax trap in search of a higher take-home with U.S. firms.
The government has a duty to its citizens to provide a more attractive place of investment for foreign companies, which in turn will bring jobs to Canada. In order for this country to succeed on an international stage, it needs to make itself attractive to both companies and communities.
It seems clear that instead of returning money to Canadian workers who paid the exorbitant tax levels which created this surplus, the government is pretending to please the masses. The problem with this is there are way too many people to please.
In an interesting recent twist, a leaked document from the finance department showed it has already planned $47 billion be earmarked for new spending initiatives. Whether or not it can be confirmed this money has been delegated towards spending, it calls into question this government's agenda.
Martin's plans seem to clearly straddle the political liberal line of providing for the citizens of this nation and a more conservative line of tax cuts.
If the government wants to really provide for this country they should exercise some common sense and stop playing around.