Peace tax denied

Below is a copy of a letter I received from the federal finance minister. I wrote asking the federal government to: 1) allow tax dollars to be diverted from militarism to peaceful purposes; 2) enact a bill that would allow tax dollars to be used for peace, not militarism; and 3) establish a Department of Peace.

Nellie Spicer, Walsh AB

“Dear Ms. Spicer,

Thank you for your correspondence of November 16, 2009, in which you suggest a change to the income tax form that would put in place a mechanism for Canadians to redirect portions of their personal income taxes.

Each year, the Government of Canada collects billions of dollars in tax revenue to support a wide range of public programs and services, ranging from support for science and innovation, to national defence and the protection of the environment.

Allowing taxpayers to direct their tax dollars to only certain programs and services would be neither democratic nor practical. It would effectively mean, for instance, that wealthier Canadians who pay higher taxes would have a greater say in the functioning of the country, through their decisions about which programs and services to fund (or not to fund). Our system of parliamentary democracy is designed to ensure that each citizen carries an equal voice, and that the priorities of the Government reflect, as best as possible, the wishes of all Canadians. Allowing each taxpayer to allocate his or her taxes among the many government programs and services would be tremendously complicated, and would make funding for ongoing government services less reliable, making it much more difficult to plan and deliver these services effectively.

Our Government is committed to responding to Canadians’ concerns about how their tax dollars are being spent, both in terms of the appropriateness of individual expenditures and the value they are getting for their money.

Thank you for communicating your concerns.


James M. Flaherty”

Remembering Zinn

A famous American man, Howard Zinn, died on January 27 at 87 years. He was a professor of political science, an activist playwright, and author of many books that were read in hundreds of American schools. His most famous book was titled, A People’s History of the United States. It sold millions of copies globally. Here are just two of the writings that he left for us to consider:

“I was a bombardier in WW2. When you are up 30,000 feet you do not hear the screams or smell the blood or see those without limbs or eyes. It was not until I read Hershey’s Hiroshima that I realized what bomber pilots do. “

And this bit of anguish:

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That’s our problem.” [From Howard Zinn’s book, Failure to Quit.]

Leo Kurtenbach

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2010

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2010, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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