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The political welfare straw man

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6 minute read

From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Jay Goldberg

After taking office, Ford started decreasing political welfare payments. But once the pandemic hit, Ford cranked the payments up to all-time highs, blaming the pandemic for making it more difficult for political parties to fundraise.

For Ontario’s political parties, the jig may finally be up.

Premier Doug Ford is just six months away from scrapping Ontario’s political welfare system. Political welfare has been a golden goose for the province’s political bigwigs and a nightmare for everyday taxpayers.

The program will soon be relegated to the ash heap of history, so long as Ford doesn’t go wobbly.

How did we get here?

Nearly a decade ago, former premier Kathleen Wynne banned corporate and union donations to political parties in Ontario. But at the same time, she created a taxpayer-funded political welfare scheme. As a result, political parties get a set amount of money from taxpayers four times a year for every vote they received in the previous election – no strings attached.

In trying to sell this political welfare cash cow to Ontario taxpayers, Wynne presented the situation as a trade-off: to ban corporate and union donations to political parties, the so-called per-vote subsidy was needed.

“Democracy is not free,” argued one of Wynne’s ministers when the Liberals introduced the program.

Before Ford got to Queen’s Park, he knew all of that was hogwash.

“I do not believe the government should be taking money from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to political parties,” said Ford in 2018.

Political parties, Ford argued, should survive by raising money from everyday taxpayers. There was no need for corporate and union donations or taxpayer handouts.

Sadly, Ford lost his way.

After taking office, Ford started decreasing political welfare payments. But once the pandemic hit, Ford cranked the payments up to all-time highs, blaming the pandemic for making it more difficult for political parties to fundraise.

Of course, Ford didn’t let logic or facts get in the way. The truth is Ontario’s political parties raised millions during the pandemic and didn’t need taxpayer handouts.

But now it appears Ford is finally seeing the light: Wynne’s political welfare regime is set to expire at the end of 2024.

Let there be no mistake: there is no valid argument in favour of keeping this taxpayer atrocity.

Ontario’s political parties will not go broke when the taxpayer taps turn off next year. In fact, they’re currently swimming in buckets of cash.

The province’s four major political parties – the Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Greens – raised more than $14 million collectively in 2023, and currently have the same amount of money in the bank.

The PCs, Liberals and NDP all have at least $2.3 million in their bank accounts. Even the Green Party, which holds just one seat at Queen’s Park, is sitting on more than $500,000 in cash.

Clearly, Ontario’s political parties won’t go broke if they get off the taxpayer dole.

Even if Ontario’s political parties weren’t sitting on a massive war chest, the reality is they would adapt quickly to a new system reliant on small-dollar donations.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper ended the federal version of Wynne’s political welfare scheme over a decade ago. And corporate and union donations have been banned federally for two decades. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t so much as tweaked those changes.

Since Harper put an end to federal political welfare, Canada’s political parties have flourished.

They’ve all gotten better at appealing to everyday Canadians to make small-dollar donations and they’re raised more money since the per-vote subsidy was scrapped than they did before.

That’s exactly what will happen when Ford kiboshes Ontario’s version of the per-vote subsidy at the end of the year. And that’s how it should be.

If political parties want to raise cash, they should do so by winning over taxpayers, not raiding their wallets.

The deadline is looming, but the fight here in Ontario is far from over.

Ford extended the life of the political welfare regime before and he could do it again.

That means taxpayers must stay vigilant.

If Ford sticks to his word, Ontario taxpayers will have one less monkey on their backs come 2025.

Let’s make sure that comes to pass.

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National

Trudeau must prove he won’t tax our homes

Published on

From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

Actions speak louder the words. That’s especially true when those words come from a politician with a track record of breaking promises and hiking taxes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he won’t send the taxman after Canadians’ homes. But if Trudeau wants Canadians to believe he won’t impose a home equity tax, there’s one thing he must do: end the CRA’s home reporting requirement.

In 2016, the Trudeau government made it mandatory for Canadians to report the sale of their primary residence even though it’s tax-exempt. If you sell your home, the CRA wants to know how much money you received from that sale. But if the taxman isn’t taxing it, why is the taxman asking that question? Is the CRA just curious?

Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre confirmed to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation he would remove this reporting requirement if he forms government.

Trudeau must do the same. Otherwise, Canadians should worry a home equity tax is right around the corner. As Toronto Sun Columnist Brian Lilley recently wrote, “For Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party, taxing your primary residence is a bad idea they just can’t quit.”

On June 25, Trudeau attended “a private town hall about generational fairness,” hosted by Generation Squeeze, a group advocating for home taxes.

What do you notice about the theme of that town hall? The government recently used the cloak of generational fairness to impose its capital gains tax hike.

The Trudeau government also spent hundreds of thousands funding and promoting a report from Generation Squeeze that complained of the “housing wealth windfalls gained by many home owners while they sleep and watch TV.”

The report recommended charging a tax on the value of homes above $1 million. The tax would cost Canadians up to $5.8 billion every year, and it would hit many normal Canadians. In British Columbia and Toronto, the typical home price is above $1 million.

Trying to improve affordability with tax hikes is like trying to boil water with your freezer. Higher taxes won’t make homes affordable. Consider this insight 50 pages into the report.

“Owners of homes valued over $1 million that include informal rental suites may try to recover the surtax by passing some of its cost on to renters,” reads the report.

It turns out higher taxes can make things cost more.

The head of Generation Squeeze was invited to a cabinet ministers’ retreat in Charlottetown last summer.

Documents uncovered by the CTF show staff in the prime minister’s office met twice with the head of Generation Squeeze, which included “a briefing about the tax policy recommendation.”

Trudeau has an appetite for taxing people’s homes. His recent capital gains tax hike will impact Canadians who sell secondary residences and cottages. He imposed a so-called anti-flipping home tax. And Trudeau taxes homes the government deems “underused.”

With Trudeau scrounging through the couch cushions looking for more money to paper over his deficits, Canadians should worry a home equity tax is next.

A home equity tax would come with a big bill for a young couple looking to upgrade to a family home or for grandparents who rely on the equity in their home to fund their golden years.

As an example, Canadians that bought their Toronto home for $250,000 in 1980 and sold it for $1.2 million today would pay between $50,000 and $190,000, depending on the type of home equity tax.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly flirted with home equity taxes. The only way for Trudeau to put Canadians’ minds at ease is to act and remove the requirement for taxpayers to report the sale of their home to the CRA.

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Trudeau pledges another $500 million to Ukraine as Canadian military suffers

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Despite the nation’s own armed forces grappling with an alarming recruitment crisis, Justin Trudeau and his government have poured over $13.3 billion into Ukraine.

More Canadians tax dollars are being sent overseas as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised an additional $500 million in military aid to Ukraine. 

During a July 10 meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trudeau announced that he would send another $500 million to Ukraine as it continues its war against Russia, despite an ongoing decline in Canada’s military recruitment.  

“We’re happy to offer we’re announcing today $500 million more military aid this year for Ukraine, to help through this very difficult situation,” Trudeau said. 

In addition to the $500 million, Canada will also provide much of Ukraine’s fighter jet pilot training as Ukraine receives its first F-16s. 

Trudeau’s statement comes after Canada has been under fire for failing to meet NATO’s mandate that all members commit at least two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to the military alliance. 

According to his 2024 budget, Trudeau plans to spend $8.1 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, and $73.0 billion over 20 years on the Department of National Defence.   

Interestingly, $8.1 billion divided equally over five years is $1,620,000 each year for the Canadian military. Therefore, Trudeau’s pledge of $500 million means he is spending just under a third on Ukraine compared to what he plans to spend on Canadians.  

Indeed, Trudeau seems reluctant to spend money on the Canadian military, as evidenced when Canadian troops in Latvia were forced to purchase their own helmets and food when the Trudeau government failed to provide proper supplies.  

Weeks later, Trudeau lectured the same troops on “climate change” and disinformation.       

However, at the same time, Trudeau readily sends Canadian tax dollars overseas to Ukraine. Since the Russia-Ukraine war began in 2022, Canada has given Ukraine over $13.3 billion, including $4 billion in direct military assistance.    

In May, Trudeau’s office announced $3.02 billion in funding for Ukraine, including millions of taxpayer dollars to promote “gender-inclusive demining.”  

Trudeau’s ongoing funding for Ukraine comes as many Canadians are struggling to pay for basics such as food, shelter, and heating. According to a recent government report, fast-rising food costs in Canada have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” with nowhere to turn for help.  

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