As Covid-19 continues to ravage Canada, these rich millennials say it is urgent to tax them more.
"As wealthy people, we recognise that we and our peers must step up and do our fair share," they reiterated in a press release in early November.
The members of Resource Movement are calling for the creation of two new taxes. First, they want a wealth tax on the richest 10 percent of Canadians, increasing through income brackets up to a rate of 10 percent on each dollar of wealth over 20 million dollars.
Second, they want the government to establish an inheritance tax for the top 10 percent of estates, increasing to a marginal rate of 55 percent on successions over 7,5 million dollars. Canada is the only G7 country without an inheritance tax.
Much-needed during the pandemic
Resource Movement estimates that these new measures could generate around 9 billion dollars in government income each year.
They want the money to be invested in different kinds of social programs,such as affordable housing, public transport and access to dental care.
"We also need to support emergency income programs. We are in a situation similar to the post-war period. We need extraordinary revenues for a fair and green economic recovery," said Jonathan McPhedran Waitzer, one of the members from the Montreal chapter.
Canada ranks in the top five countries in the world having the largest population of ultra-wealthy residents, with 11,285 people in 2019, after the United States, Japan, China and Germany, according to Wealth-X, a New-York based research firm.
"As a first step, we are targeting wealth over 20 million dollars. The exorbitant lifestyle of these people will not change. Nobody should shed a tear. They don’t need that much money. If they say they do, they are lying," David Gray-Donald, Resource Movement’s cofounder, argues.
With the risk of tax avoidance, it is difficult to evaluate the efficiency of these proposals as a means of refilling government coffers. "It is a tool among others and, even if it might not be perfect, we cannot rule it out," argues Julia Posca, of the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information in Montreal.
She believes in going beyond philanthropy to address the problems caused by inequality. "The goodwill of some rich individuals, who choose the causes to support, is not enough. These are decisions that must be made by the experts of a democratically elected government," Posca insists.
Founded in 2015, Resource Movement has members in Montreal and Toronto and is developing chapters in Ottawa and Vancouver.
"The movement is growing, especially since the pandemic started. Some people had their income cut entirely while other are still able to save money. The divide is clear," says David Gray-Donald.