Federal government considering legislation aimed at tax evaders: Morneau

Elias Hubbard
March 4, 2018

For now, politically, the good news for the Liberal government is that the Conservatives and their ideological allies such as the Fraser and C.D. Howe Institutes and the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation loathe the budget.

Gender equality and a national pharmacare plan are expected to be two of the cornerstones of the federal budget when it is presented in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The budget blueprint, which is bound to be implemented given the Liberal's parliamentary majority, maintained a C$3 billion ($2.4 billion) fiscal cushion each year to guard against any unexpected event that could hurt the government books.

"Oh Canada! Prime Minister Trudeau's budget - and the smart, women-centred policy that guides it - is leadership in action", Bono said in a statement. The Canadian Foundation for Innovation, which funds research infrastructure and equipment, got a regular annual allocation, as recommended, to allow better planning and predictability in the support it provides.

Now that gender and the pursuit of equality for women are central political and policy preoccupations can we expect to hear more about child care again? As well as the environment and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, earmarking $4.7 billion over the next five years largely aimed at supporting Indigenous children and families and investing in housing and health.

New parental leave provisions adds five weeks to the current 35, but only for fathers.

"Movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have shed light on disturbing situations and behaviours that too often, go unreported", he told MPs.

Part of that is the significant wage gap in Canada, which now shows that the median annual earnings for women is about 31% lower than the median annual earnings for men.

Men will now be entitled to paternity leave. Canadians for Access to Medical Marijuana also questioned the wording behind a budget promise to consider retroactively reimbursing patients an unspecified amount for taxes already paid on cannabis-based pharmaceuticals.

However, Adshade said the budget fails to help women in Canada who are single parents.

This budget focuses on women, not just from an equity or a social justice point of view, but from an economic perspective. I'm constantly disappointed by this.

"We need a strategy to deal with the fact not everyone has access, and we need to do it in a way that's responsible, that deals with the gaps, but doesn't throw out the system that we now have", he said.

Beyond the dollar values, the budget and science review have opened a dialogue on what's needed to improve the research ecosystem, said Martha Crago, a member of the fundamental science review panel and vice-principal, research and innovation, at McGill University.

Prior to Tuesday, the current Liberal government had said it would be too hard to increase the aid budget to the 0.7 per cent target, making it clear it had other spending priorities. Morneau says the budget deficit will fall to $12.3 billion by 2022-23, but can we really take these Liberals at their word?

"The economy is doing well-remarkably well", Morneau said in prepared remarks of his budget speech.

The budget appears to be putting money towards long-term economic growth strategies, such as boosting support and prospects for women and indigenous people. We have the agricultural sector to thank for the stability we enjoy - a sector that supports one in eight Canadian jobs. "This has to be short-term spending". And it comes with dire consequences as governments are eventually forced to come to terms with their overspending habits by slashing programs and raising taxes.

What was not said: Businesses have long enjoyed the benefits of a tax advantage relative to the USA, but with recent tax reforms south of the border, that is no longer the case.

While Liz Majic, legal education and outreach coordinator for Canada without Poverty, lauded such investments in women's employment, she said she's concerned about their effectiveness given that the federal budget made no mention of a national framework on childcare.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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