The Fairness Express came to the Queens County Fair in Caledonia on Sept. 18, which is touring Atlantic Canada to find out how Atlantic Canadians feel about their current method of taxation and about wage disparity.
© Brittany W. Verge Photo
Glen Kennedy, a civil servant and union member of NUPGE stands in front of the Fairness Express. A group of mainly civil servants are traveling the Atlantic Provinces to advocate for equal pay, fairer taxation, and to get opinions from the public on how best to approach the two issues.
Many of the fair wage advocates on the bus are a part of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and they say they want to get opinions from locals. The Freedom Express is a part of the union’s “All Together Now” campaign, which focuses on building trust and common cause with people.
“The average person is going more and more in debt and when they go in debt, they don’t spend as much and when they don’t spend as much, tax revenue goes down, and when tax revenue goes down, public services get cut and we don’t think it has to be that way,” says Glen Kennedy, a civil servant and a union member.
Kennedy says taxpayers who make over $250,000 per year pay a smaller percent of their income than the average person. He would like to see loop holes closed and would like to see corporate taxes be raised. The federal government has reduced the corporate tax to 26.5 per cent as compared to the American rate, which is 40 per cent.
“We’re losing all that revenue and that’s less education, less health care, less police officers and when they lose their jobs, that’s even less tax revenue,” says Kennedy.
The group outlines their four-point plan as follows:
- Ensure Tax Fairness: Ensure corporations and the wealthy are paying their fair share and that those with too little aren’t overburdened.
- Strengthen Public Services: Public education, public health care, and public social services ensure that everyone has an equal shot at a prosperous and productive life.
- Create a Modern Industrial Strategy: For too long, our politicians have focused on growing our economy through race-to-the-bottom trade deals and the simple extraction and export of our natural resources. It’s time to build industries and economies that put people and nature first.
- Protect Labour Rights: Unions ensure decent wages, safe workplaces, and secure livelihoods. They also foster the greater good, leading the charge for things like Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and respect for the basic human rights of women, minorities, people who are gay, lesbian, or transgendered, and people with disabilities.
The group was also handing out pins supporting the Robin Hood Tax initiative. The Robin Hood Tax is a .05 per cent tax that would be levied on all financial market transactions in order to raise resources for various uses. Ordinary transactions would not be included in the tax. The website for the tax calls it a “tiny tax” and says it would help stabilize the economy and get Canada out of debt.
The Fairness Express group also walked in the Parade, handed out pamphlets, pins, and held games for children where they gave out balloons as prizes.
For more information on the Robin Hood Tax visit www.robinhoodtax.ca