Monday, November 10, 2008

Whatever happened to representation for those who face taxation

APRIMARY GRIEVANCE of American colonists in 1763–1776, “No taxation without representation,” could as equally apply today vis-à-vis Canada’s federal equalization payments. Just as the early Americans believed their lack of direct representation in the British Parliament was an illegal denial of their rights, Ottawa’s forking over in excess of $8 billion annually to the province of Quebec from a pool of taxes collected from across Canada is I believe the denial of the rights of all Canadians who live outside that province. If they pay the tax, why should not other Canadians receive representation in the Quebec National Assembly?

Quebec is free to spend the $8 billion in any manner, including giving tax cuts to their residents, and Canadians who live outside that province have no say in the matter. How fair is that?

Boston politician James Otis , Jr. (1725–1783) famously said, “taxation without representation is tyranny.” Apparently our tax-happy, wealth-distribution-happy parliamentarians have forgotten the lesson those residents of the Thirteen Colonies taught the British Empire some 230 years ago.

In all, six provinces will receive over $13.6 billion in Equalization payments in 2008-09. Of that staggering amount, Quebec will receive over $8 billion, nearly 60 per cent (Dept. of Finance Canada). And this to a province with nearly everything going for it.

Quebec is Canada’s largest province by area and is the second most populous province, after Ontario. The St. Lawrence River Valley within the boundaries of Quebec produces dairy products, fruit, vegetables, foie gras, maple syrup (Quebec is the world’s largest producer), and livestock. Moreover, Quebec has significant natural resources in its coniferous forests, lakes, and rivers—pulp and paper, lumber, and hydroelectricity are only some of the province’s important industries.

In and around Montreal, there is a significant concentration of high-tech industries, including aerospace companies such as Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney, the flight simulator builder CAE, defence contractor Lockheed Martin, Canada and large video game companies such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.

Quebec is not a poor or disadvantaged region of Canada. It could only be considered a “have-not” by some arbitrary formula dreamed up by bureaucrats and politicians to help truly poorer/disadvantaged regions of our nation and to placate the greedy spendthrift governments of Quebec—not to mention a great way for federal politicians to buy votes.

Quebec’s GDP per capita in 2006, measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) with the US dollar, reached US$30,143 PPP. Quebec ranked 22nd in the world in 2006, ahead of rich countries like Italy and Spain. Canada ranked 10th. [Source] In short, Quebec ranks among the 25 richest regions in the world.

If Quebec is to receive even $1 in equalization, then I want a vote in their upcoming election.

Taxation without representation is tyranny.

1 comment:

  1. Since coming to Canada to work for one of the companies mentioned I have always wondered why Quebec was treated like this. Then I realised no Canadian politician had balls including Harper. He has thrown more money at them than the Libs only to be kicked in the teeth. Just another reason
    I didn't vote.

    Kick the buggers out.