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Scott Myres

Be Realistic on the HST

BRITISH COLUMBIA – The past year has witnessed significant movement along the path of tax reform, both domestically and internationally. The global bank tax, a proposition put forward by the IMF and heavily supported by President Barack Obama among other foreign leaders, was firmly rejected by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government. Operating as a levy on financial institutions’ balance sheets, the proceeds incurred would go towards an insurance fund intended for the use of future bailouts. The problem with which opponents of this policy took issue, and over which Canada also voiced concern, was the risk of a moral hazard. Realizing that the authorities have money available to help the financial sector in times of trouble, banks would continue to participate in risky lending. As well, the tax would penalize nations that did not have to bail out their financial sectors, nations such as Canada.The connection I would like to make between the bank tax and the HST is that often all is not quite as it seems in the world of tax policy. It is important to conduct research on a tax initiative before deciding whether or not it has your support. Although an international bank tax would seem warranted after the 2008 financial crisis, the policy put forward by the IMF possessed ethical complications. When it comes to the HST, however, the media and opposition politicians within British Columbia and Ontario, the former especially, damned the policy before it ever had a chance to be effectively debated. A value-added tax such as the HST increases jobs within the province, lowers the prices of products and merchandise, and stimulates the provincial economy. Considering its long-term economic potential, citizens are throwing away pragmatic judgement in favour of short-term financial gains. This is something that we as taxpayers… Read More

The Endless Value of Volunteerism

To sacrifice one’s time for the sake of others. To contribute personal talent for the benefit of complete strangers. To work tirelessly with the aim of not receiving any gratuities or compensation. Such are the goals of volunteers, bénévoles, and philanthropists.Such offerings are not as commonplace nowadays as they were in the past. To come across a friend or a colleague who asks why I would give up so much of my time for something not personally advantageous isn’t uncommon. It is however unexpected, and disappointing.Due to various reasons, both underlying and obvious, Canadians seem to devote less time in their lives toward others now than they have in the past. Many ask the question of why. Is it because the issues have gone away? No. Is it because the governmental social safety net has reached a point of complete eradication of the need for charity? No. Is it because of an increasingly busy society, with less time spent on leisure and more time spent on careerism? Partly, yes.Over the course of the past one hundred years North American society has witnessed one of the greatest increases in income per worker as well as time devoted toward one’s career. The quest for more substantive salaries has resulted in a lessened perception of the worth of volunteerism. This is something we as a society need to weigh very carefully.Most volunteers have their own special cause, one which has influenced their life in some form or another. Mine is the battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. My grandmother was diagnosed with the disease when I was five years old and, until her death in 2005, her struggle played a large role in my childhood. Alzheimer’s has shaped my views on life, my perceptions of aging, and how I interact with those who suffer from… Read More