Justin Trudeau says a Liberal government would reverse the Conservatives’ decision to implement income splitting if they win the 2015 federal election. The announcement comes as we inch closer to the fall economic update, or the State of our Disunion. While many Canadians envision extra spending money for Christmas from Jolly Old St. Clement, the Conservatives remain silent on the matter of spending our surplus.
Tory MPs will soon wail that Trudeau wants to take your money (more of your money) along with your guns. They insist that Liberal run taxes will go towards frivolities such as transportation, hospitals, education, social services, and the like. Granted, Trudeau admits he will deflect taxes towards infrastructure (though he hasn’t said he’d increase them yet). Before the pundits start waving the finger and shouting “j’accuse” at the Liberal leader, it is important to consider a few facts.
The late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was never keen on income splitting. This alone should start the alarm bells ringing—a Tory Minister actually disagreeing with Harper, in public! He regrettably passed soon after voicing his opposition to Harper’s proposal, and was replaced by a far more complacent Minister of Finance in Joe Oliver.
The World Monetary Fund, which has discouraged income splitting practices around the world, is also against the proposal. The WMF is kind of a hybrid of Robin Hood and Ebenezer Scrooge; they take from the rich to give to the poor and then charge them interest to keep them poor.
More importantly for us, the CD Howe Institute—a prominent think tank, which Mr. Harper praises as “invaluable to the nation”—released a report that opposed income splitting. They conclude that it would cost us more overall and we wouldn’t get much out of it. According to the report from CD Howe—and echoed by the WMF—income splitting won’t greatly benefit dual income households with children, and will only even provide a return to 50% of them. Around 85% of Canadian households will be unaffected by the Conservative proposal, yet it will cost the Federal government $3 billion a year to implement. Those who earn less—women and minorities—will pay a larger share of taxes overall.
Rather shortly, I suspect that Conservative MPs and the media will begin ranting about Trudeau’s statements. But he’s in good company this time, with the WMF, a former Conservative Minister of Finance, and a prominent Canadian think tank. Let’s not rant about their statements too.