In this Op Ed, Peter Gillespie of Halifax Initiative notes how multi-national companies have employed artificial accounting methods to avoid paying taxes in the places where they do business. This problem is affecting developed and developing countries alike.
James Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey and Co., is an international expert on capital flight, tax havens, debt and corporate taxation. Mr. Henry spoke to Evan Solomon on CBC's Power and Politics regarding tax evasion in Canada.
In spite of Canada's attempt to bury it at the Toronto G20 meeting, a tax on financial transactions is back on the global agenda and gaining momentum.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to use his term as chair of the G20 to reform the global financial system and curb the speculation that contributed to the economic crisis. At the top of his agenda is an international financial transactions tax (FTT) to fund the fight against poverty and climate change.
This past weekend, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty managed to rally China, Brazil and South Korea behind him at G20 meetings in Busan, South Korea, and put those pesky discussions about a global bank tax to rest.
Instead of discussing a bank tax at this month's summit, the G20 agreed to "develop principles reflecting the need to protect taxpayers, reduce risks from the financial system, protect the flow of credit in good times and bad, taking into account individual country's circumstances and options."
IMF, European Union look to bail out Greece
Greece’s debt crisis is finally coming to a head, with International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to deal with the country’s deficit and heavy debt load being hammered out in Athens. The European Union and the IMF are negotiating the terms of a bailout as fears mount that Greece’s crisis could soon spread to other countries in Europe and beyond. Other nations carrying significant debt loads, including the United States, are concerned that the Greek crisis is a harbinger of things to come, closer to home.
A growing number of politicians, civil society organizations, economists and some financiers have become strong advocates of a global Financial Transactions Tax (FTT). An FTT is a tiny tax on financial market transactions such as equity, bond, derivative or foreign exchange trades.
Political leaders, including the presidents of France and Germany and the prime minister of Britain, back an FTT as one of the best ways to fund programs to fight world poverty, pay for climate mitigation and adaptation costs and make financial institutions pay their fair share of the costs of the global crisis which, in large part, was created by their practices. Prominent economists advocate a Financial Transactions Tax as one way to cool down excessive speculation in financial markets, a principal cause of the economic crisis.
What’s changed in the international financial system and its institutions, what hasn’t and what needs to
Back in 1995, the G7 met in Halifax during a “time of change and opportunity.” The meeting took place in a context of mounting deficits and debt crises in countries in the South; in the wake of economic collapse in Mexico; and amid strong global criticism from civil society, the media and governments about the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) austere neo-liberal structural adjustment policies.
A lot has changed since then, partly in response to the Halifax G7 Summit and subsequent G7 and G8 meetings. Too many of these improvements, however, exist only on paper. Beyond the surface, the neo-liberal, market-oriented bias that guides the Bank and Fund’s agenda and thinking has not altered.
The 2010 G8 Summit in Toronto in 2010 takes place during another “time of change and opportunity.” The financial crisis has spurred many civil society organizations (CSOs) to insist on far-reaching changes to the global financial system and its institutions. Clearly, as this publication will illustrate, 15 years of refusing to deal with the manifest shortcomings of the global economic system is enough.
2010 is an important and unique moment for Parliamentarians to engage with Canadians on some of the most important global issues facing our planet and our future. On June 25th, 2010, Canada will play host to leaders from the Group of Eight countries in Muskoka, followed by a meeting of G20 leaders in Toronto on June 26-27.
To date, there has been little discussion among parliamentarians about the themes leading up to the 2010 summits, and Canadian civil society is looking to engage members from all parties in a discussion around some of the issues highlighted in our civil society platform, An Agenda for Global Development: G8/G20 Civil Society Coalition Platform, endorsed by over 60 organizations across the country. The platform discusses specific, measurable, realistic recommendations to put poverty eradication, economic recovery for all and environmental justice at the centre of the international agenda.
To facilitate the conversation, Canadian civil society is organizing three parliamentary roundtables to discuss party perspectives on climate change, the financial crisis and the millennium development goals (MDGs). The Roundtables will occur as the G20 Finance Ministers meet in Washington, as G8 Development Ministers meet in Halifax and as Canada hosts the Africa Partnership Forum in Toronto.
Roundtable 1: Climate change When: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 - 9:00 am –11:00 am Where: Room 2-2, Booth Building, 165 Sparks Street, Ottawa