I would like to take this opportunity to add some more thoughts additional to those of Lorraine Rekmans regarding the recent letter to this newspaper from Willem Van Dam, in which he has totally misrepresented Green Party policy. Green policies focus on lifting Canadians out of poverty, stimulating the economy, funding a green transition, and not digging ourselves deeper into debt.
Mr. Van Dam’s letter has little basis in fact, with his scenarios obviously being fabrications guided by his own prejudices and the way he sees the world. Lorraine Rekmans’ letter didn’t take him to task on all of his points, because, I suspect, that she was trying to elevate the discussion to a higher level. As you can only do that with people willing to see another point of view, I fear that this path may be wasted on the radical right, who know what they know, and don’t want to be confused by facts, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary to disabuse them of their beliefs.
As explained by Lorraine, Greens are not out to “rob” people of their “property”, this being contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedom. Greens respect this document. It would seem that Conservatives don’t put much stock in it, having supported a government that violated it when Ford took his petty revenge on Toronto council by halving the amount of city councillors in the middle of an election.
Mr. Van Dam states that the Greens would tax all incomes over $100,000. If you set the bar that low, that just stifles innovation, and would be counterproductive. Green policy is to get the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.
$100,000 scarcely qualifies as “wealthy” in anybody’s book, so I have no idea just where he conjured that number up from. Regardless, it is simply absurd, including the bizarre scenario he builds around this.
An example of who the Greens feel should be paying their fair share of taxes is some of these billionaires in our society making a small fortune out of this pandemic, while keeping their workers underpaid.
Our current tax system has so many loopholes that the super-rich can exploit, that they pay nowhere near the percentage amount of taxes that the average person pays. It’s not like they can’t afford it. You have all read of the eye-watering amount of revenue that could be raised by applying a mere 1% wealth tax. Why governments don’t do this is shameful. The result of not having this revenue is cuts to social programs, as right-wing governments are wont to do in the name of austerity, and then they make matters worse by giving tax breaks to these same people who are already hoarding billions in cash in offshore accounts.
Greens are trying to bring some sanity to this situation. If we keep following the neoliberal way in which our economy is currently structured, the rich are going to get richer, at the expense of the rest of us. I don’t know what drives people like Mr. Van Dam to make these kinds of claims. I suspect that he is concerned as to just how much this pandemic has exposed the flaws in the way that we are governed, and that we need to find different solutions to our problems.
Fear of the unknown, maybe, but could the concern be that these new solutions are gaining traction, as more and more of us are getting fed up with the inequalities in the current system?
Instead of spending our time creating fantasies presented as fact, we should instead let this current crisis spur a deeper discussion about neoliberalization’s contribution to the unconscionable rise in inequality, corporate power, and ecological insecurity, and how we might reverse this trajectory. Canada’s current neoliberal trade model is incompatible with the need to put sustainable development at the heart of our domestic economy. Returning to “normal” will no longer cut it.