Gatineau Monde lecture series
How to rein in wealthy privilege
need to surrender to austerity. “Yes, we can act differently.” That was
the message that Elisabeth Gibeau brought to an audience at Gatineau’s
Maison du citoyen, under the auspices of the Société Gatineau Monde.
Gibeau is the analyst for social and fiscal policy for the Union des consommateurs and a founding member of Main Rouge. The Union des consommateurs promotes and defends consumers’ rights, especially with regard to the interests of households of moderate income.
is a social justice coalition of unions, feminist and community
organizations, and student groups, which promotes universal access to
quality public services and human rights.
In her rapid-fire presentation, she listed item-after-item of measures to combat austerity. In the process, she also gave examples of ways in which the rich and powerful evade paying their rightful share of taxes. For example, “The five biggest banks have 75 shelters in tax havens,” to which income can be attributed and taxed at lower rates. She also noted that the corporate tax rate in Quebec is low, compared to those in British Columbia and to some American states. In the American states she listed, rates are typically an additional 10% more. (We once had a conversation with Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi. Ontario’s corporate tax rate is close to Quebec’s. He said that low taxes were aimed at encouraging investment. We responded that the strategy did not appear to be working.)
Gibeau remarked on the glaring discrepancy between Quebec’s $4 billion surplus and the Liberal government’s campaign of austerity, cutting education, health, social services, and squeezing social assistance. She saw ways of increasing public revenues even more to free up more funds for social programs. For example, the number of income tax brackets could be increased, with significantly higher rates at the top income levels.
There has been much ink spilled recently regarding the practice of many doctors to incorporate in order to lower their tax burden. She sides with those who want to put an end to this practice.