Brookman: Excessive taxes give rise to second coming of the Boston Tea Party

Tax increases are out of control. Instead of running the business of government, elected officials have decided to social engineer our lives and it has gotten way out of hand

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On Dec. 16, 1773, exactly 250 years ago, a group calling itself the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in Boston Harbour and threw 342 chests of British tea into the ocean. Most people have heard the story of the Boston Tea Party and the fact that the people had reached the point where they were simply not going to tolerate any further taxes.

But most of our elected representatives seem to have collectively missed those classes in American history.

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How else can you explain that at a time when Calgarians are struggling with grocery prices, utility bills and high interest rates, our city council feels this is the right moment to add more taxes to cover the costs of bloated project budgets and wild climate crisis schemes. The new year has not brought any more logic to their taxation demands, but rather has seen taxes being piled on.

The city approved a nearly eight per cent increase in residential property taxes at a time when market value assessments are already climbing by an estimated 10 per cent. This is how you define “double dipping” — when you see values rise, then increase the mill rate to take full advantage of the fact that money is needed to fund extravagant purchases such as electric buses and the Green Line LRT project. Let’s not forget that transit fares have also gone up as of Jan. 1, while the city is now “looking at” local utility access fees.

It will not be a surprise if it takes many months to “look at” those fees, because a majority of council wants to avoid any suggestion they should do more with less. At the same time, the Calgary climate crisis has also led to a bylaw forcing businesses to charge for any bag needed to carry home your groceries, or even your Tim Hortons doughnut. There are some voices of reason on council but they are drowned out by the purveyors of panic.

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Even our leaders in Edmonton have decided to reinstate the tax on gasoline and diesel, but try to make us feel better by suggesting that, at nine cents a litre, we are actually getting a bargain. We have the third-largest supply of hydrocarbons in the world, but at more than $70 U.S. a barrel, the province still cannot run Alberta on income taxes, fees and royalties, and needs to reinstate the fuel tax.

Could their timing be any worse? In their defence, there is a plan to lower income taxes in Alberta for individuals making less than $60,000 per year, and Alberta does remain the lowest tax regime in Canada, but the introduction of the fuel tax seems to go against that thrust of lowering the cost of living.

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No one, however, tops the federal government for raising taxes. A news report this week said the federal civil service has tripled in size since 2015, so taxes must certainly go up to cover the costs of those additional salaries, pensions, car allowances and so on.

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We are all painfully aware of the increase in the carbon tax designed to save the planet no matter what the Saudis and the Chinese do in their countries. The carbon tax is a tax grab, plain and simple, that is trying to dress itself up as a climate crusader.

There will also be increases in payroll taxes, taxes on alcohol, increasing import duties and an increase in the amount of money that working Canadians must contribute to the Canada Pension Plan. This is all done while federal ministers attack grocery chains for making a profit and constantly repeat, “We understand what Canadians are going through.”

Tax increases are out of control. Instead of running the business of government, elected officials have decided to social engineer our lives and it has gotten way out of hand.

We may not have a Sons of Liberty in this country and the Bow River may be too shallow for dumping overpriced milk and cheese, but someone had soon better say, “Enough,” or the day will come when even the most placid and pleasant Canadians will simply stop paying taxes.

George H. Brookman is chair and company ambassador of West Canadian Digital.

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