9 in 10 Canadians say large corporations & the rich are taxed too little

Vast majority of voters in all major parties want large corporations and the rich to pay more in taxes.

Last month, the Broadbent Institute and the Professional Institute for the Public Service of Canada commissioned Abacus Data to survey Canadians regarding their opinions on tax fairness in Canada.

About 1,500 adults participated in the online survey between 13 July and 19 July. Pollsters asked them various questions about the fairness about taxation.

For example, they discovered that 62% of participants described the tax system in Canada as unfair. Only 14% found it fair. Now keep in mind that people aren’t necessarily calling it unfair because they feel they pay too much in taxes. In fact, according to poll results, only 5% of those taking the survey felt that making taxation fairer meant that taxes would have to go up for themselves personally.

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And when they were asked what they thought was the cause of the unfairness, 7 out of every 10 respondents large corporations and the rich aren’t paying enough in taxes. Only 4 in 10 think lower and middle income wage earners pay too much in taxes.

To solve the inequity that they perceive in the system, 81% of participants think we must increase taxes on large corporations and the rich, right now. The vast majority of participants supported 7 specific tax initiatives:

Close tax loopholes92%60%
Reduce storing profits in tax havens92%55%
Introduce a 1% wealth tax89%50%
Top marginal tax rate of 37% (above $750,000)88%44%
Tax on excessive corporate profits87%43%
Inheritance tax on estates worth $10M+80%41%
Increase corporate tax to pre-2000 levels88%40%

According to the survey results, several of these initiatives would generate specific amounts of federal revenue. The wealth tax, for example, would generate an extra $7 billion every year, the top marginal income tax rate increase would generate $1 billion more every year, and bringing corporate tax rates to pre-2000 levels would bring in an additional $7 billion. That’s $15 billion extra every year, and that’s just for 3 of the 7 initiatives. The others would also increase revenue.

A majority of participants also thought that these initiatives would lead to a better society.

For example, 61% thought quality of life would either probably or definitely improve with these changes. As well, 66% think that the feds would either probably or definitely be able to reduce the deficit without having to implement spending cuts. Finally, 58% felt that the above initiative would probably or definitely impact the economy very litt.e

Support for these initiatives aren’t restricted to the parties traditionally seen as being on the left end of the political spectrum. Voters from all parties supported these policies, ranging from 83% among Conservative voters to 96% among Bloc Quebecois voters.

Not only that, but 89% of participants said they would either definitely or probably consider voting for a political party that promised to increase taxes on large corporations and the rich, including 84% of Conservative voters.

While it’s clear that all political parties should be pursuing tax reform, it’s obvious that the Conservatives are the most out of touch with all but a small minority of their voters when they continually pursue tax breaks for the rich and for large corporations.

But speaking of political parties and tax fairness, Abacus revealed that most respondents think that Justin Trudeau, the current prime minister and leader of the Liberal party, hasn’t done enough to address affordability, tax fairness, and income inequality.

Specifically, 59% didn’t think he’s done enough to make life more affordable for them and their family. And it gets worse from there, with 64% saying he hasn’t done enough to make sure everyone pays their fair share in taxes and 66% saying he has fallen short on addressing income and wealth inequality.

When it came down to which party to choose to address tax reform, however, there was no clear winner, with the 3 main parties polling pretty low and “unsure” polling between 33% and 36% in each area.

Make life more affordable24%20%17%
Ensure everyone pays their fair share in taxes22%24%15%
Reduce income and wealth inequality21%21%15%

There’s definitely an opportunity here if a political party wanted to carry the banner on this issue.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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