More than $3.4B in new revenue belies Tory claim of lowering taxes: Liberals

OTTAWA — As Canadians begin to look forward to a series of new federal tax measures kicking in soon, newly-released figures show changes to taxes and tariffs are also helping bolster the government’s bottom line.

OTTAWA — As Canadians begin to look forward to a series of new federal tax measures kicking in soon, newly-released figures show changes to taxes and tariffs are also helping bolster the government’s bottom line.

Data tabled in the House of Commons this week shows a variety of tax changes and the elimination of old tax credits will rake in more than $3.4 billion for the federal government in 2015-2016.

And those numbers don’t include what the government is collecting on user fees for services like passports and citizenship, or recent new tariffs on imports.

The $3.4-billion figure comes from data in an answer to a question on the order paper by deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale.

It’s a telling answer, albeit an incomplete one, he said in an interview.

“It says that this government has been contrary to what they constantly assert — that they only reduce taxes, they never increase taxes,” he said.

“The evidence is that they have over the last number of years generated billions of dollars in increased taxes and they can deny all they like, but the evidence is clearly there in the answer to this question. So the government’s position is entirely hypocritical.”

Making up the $3.4 billion is everything from the removal of a deduction for safety deposit boxes to a decrease in the tax breaks for credit unions.

It also includes ongoing tax increases for items like tobacco and a bump in revenues from increased taxes on oil sands development.

The biggest chunk comes from the end of the child tax credit, which will give $1.75 billion back to the government.

That credit though is being replaced by the broader universal child care benefit and income-splitting provisions for families with children, which will cost the federal government $4.6 billion a year.

In its response to Goodale’s question, the finance department says the overall federal tax burden to Canadians is at its lowest level in more than 50 years.

“The government has provided significant tax relief for individuals, families and businesses, further contributing to an environment where Canadians can succeed and Canadian businesses can grow, create new well-paying jobs and compete internationally,” the department says in the answer.

In some cases, the department argues, the new taxes are a result of an attempt to streamline older programs, such as the new tax structure for scientific research programs, and the money is poured right back into business.

Though Goodale had asked for a breakdown of all new tariffs, service charges and fees since 2005, the government did not provide all of the data.

For example, last year the government raised passport fees from $87 to $120 for a five-year passport, and introduced a 10 year passport at a cost of $160.

That brought in $462.5 million in fees, numbers that are not included in the data provided to Goodale.

His office says they will be pursuing more detailed figures.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

People cheer after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office shows Ruben Flores, 80, who was arrested in connection to the murder of college student Kristin Smart at his Arroyo Grande home on Tuesday, April 12, 2021. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said the arrest warrants for Ruben Flores and his son Paul Flores were issued after a search of the elder Flores' home last month using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs. He said evidence was found linked to the killing of Smart but they had not yet located her body. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments, Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

This undated image provided by Matthew Pottage shows drought-tolerant succulents in a window box in London. (Matthew Pottage via AP)
Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. Female service members and veterans are blasting the way Canada's military police investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined virtually by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as they talk online to a group of front-line pharmacists from across the country to discuss the ongoing vaccination efforts in the fight against COVID‑19, from the Prime Ministers office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Most Read