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Forcing the rich to pay for Canada’s post-COVID recovery is better than eating them

Having the United States as a neighbour trivializes many of Canada’s flaws. Case in point: wealth and income inequality.

ICYMI: Canada’s rich have separated themselves from the pack at an alarming rate over the past several decades. According to a 2018 study, by lunch in one day the average top-earning CEO will earn what the average worker makes in an entire year.

Canada is home to 41 billionaires. The wealthiest 0.01 percent of Canadian families have a net wealth totalling $654 billion. They own 120 times their share of the country’s wealth.

Do they contribute 120 times their share to society? Assumptions of tax sheltering aside, it is highly like that they do not.

It should come as no surprise, then, that 75% of Canadians support implementing a wealth tax. Such a tax would take 1% to 2% from the assets of Canada’s wealthiest people in order to finance the post-Covid recovery.

According to the report:

Support for a wealth tax is consistent across the country, from 90% in BC, 75% in Alberta, and 86% in Ontario to 74% in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Support is also highest among Canadians aged 60 and over (83%).

Politically, a wealth tax finds broad support among Liberal, NDP, and Green Party supporters but also among Conservative voters. 69% of Conservative Party voters in 2019 either strongly support (37%) or support (32%) a wealth tax of 1% to 2% on Canada’s wealthiest people.

The NDP had proposed a so-called Super-Wealth Tax (one per cent annual tax on net wealth over $20 million) during the 2019 election. They were, of course, soundly defeated. Meanwhile, the closest such initiative implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the introduction of a new tax bracket for those earning above $200,000. No one knows if it made a meaningful difference.

As pressure mounts to make critical investments in public infrastructure in the wake of Covid-19, it remains to be seen where the money will come from. A petition calling for a wealth tax for Canada’s super-rich has attracted nearly 25,000 signatures.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.