To my knowledge, the position is unchanged since the last platform under Layton from the NDP. Eliminate tax loopholes, crack down on offshore tax havens, institute a cap and trade system, and raise the corporate tax rate.
Since this doesn't include raising personal income tax rates, would this establish a much more progressive tax system? I haven't seen the numbers crunched to show what kind of tax system we'd have if the NDP's plan went ahead.
Speaking of fair taxation, this is one of my favorite resolutions from the Montreal convention:
That's the kind of policy I'd love to see the NDP support and put on the 2015 election platform. What's stopping the NDP from supporting the establishment of another Carter Commission? Wouldn't that be a vote getter?
1-92-13 Resolution on Taxation
Submitted by Kildonan-St. Paul
WHEREAS the present taxation system is badly skewed in favour of the wealthy, and;
WHEREAS many years ago the Carter Commission appointed by then Prime Minister Diefenbaker, recommended a major reform of our tax system; essentially advocating that all income be taxed fairly (no special treatment for share dividends) and;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that an NDP federal government would overhaul our tax system to provide greater relief to low income earners and provide for a greater contribution from those in society that are far better able to pay back to society a fairer portion of their income.
I think the contest between Topp and Mulcair put that very question to the test, and a slim majority of members decided that it would not be a vote getter (at least for now). I'm not so sure. It seems that "vote getters" are appealing to how the party in power can best benefit people. Simple arguments win the day, I feel. I'll talk about this more in a bit (for the one or two who actually deem my long post to be important enough to read).
To digress for a bit, I recall when Hampton was running in Ontario, that he set up a site called "publicpower.ca" (or ".com", I can't recall). This was to promote investment in public utilities. This was after Harris' first term (who was a hard-right libertarian). Also, Hampton advocated raising taxes on the wealthiest in Ontario to pay for increased investments in public services. So, did he do well in the election? No, he did not do well. The timing was not right, even though it was a good policy -- IE, in the next election after the Liberals won, promising no new taxes, they then implemented a "health care premium", which in reality was a tax (though when one looks closely at how it was set up, it was not a proper progressive tax -- people would have been better off with the NDP). So, a tax increase was needed. But advertising it as such did not lead to victory. Instead, it was implemented in the guise of something else.
The idea of simply saying, "we need more revenue, so we're going to raise taxes" is appealing to me. But, the idea of freeing people to control their own destiny has taken a firm root with people. The Harper government has helped with this attitude also. For instance, the apology for residential schools was a very good thing to do, but also fed into the idea of instilling caution in people of an over-reaching paternalistic government. And, frankly, this is a valid concern. Sometimes "public power" is not the best.
But a government that neglects the needs of its citizens is also not the best. A proper balance must be found. And the neither the Liberals nor Conservatives have this proper balance. The NDP does, but how does it convince people of this? As I mentioned earlier, simple arguments are best. And these are arguments that strike a chord with people. Hampton's NDP, who had policies I quite liked, also had a campaign that I thought was terrible. They had ads that looked like various charity ads that try to make you feel guilty to donate (IE, to support the dispossessed), rather than ads promoting how you the voter will feel better if you vote NDP. I called the ONDP and let them know that I wanted to hear how life will be better for me if I vote for them. If all they could tell me was that life will be harder for me but perhaps a bit better for someone else, then I hardly could be convinced (regardless of this argument, I did vote NDP).
Anyway, this is why I like the approach of both Horwath (who, it should be noted, used her clout to get the Ontario Liberals to have those with incomes more than $500,000 pay a two percentage point income tax premium -- an amazing accomplishment -- weirdly she is derided by some of the puritans here at Rabble) and Mulcair. Admittedly, I'm a bigger fan of Horwath than I am of Mulcair. I still haven't gotten a clear message of how I personally will benefit from him being in government, whereas Horwath does tell me (derided by some here as "populist", weirdly enough).
In spite of what I've said, I would like to see leaders of the NDP be even more direct. While I like "Resolution 1-92-13" that you referred to, even it seems a bit off to me. I feel rather than only the rich paying more, that taxation in general needs to go up. So, I'd support increasing rates in all tax brackets somewhat (wealthier more), along with introducing a new tax bracket for the very wealthy. Admittedly, the resolution allows for what I'm saying, but its wording also allow for a variety of interpretations (like, only the rich pay more). In that sense, it feeds into the "taxes are bad except for those that can afford them" argument. But, is now the right time for an argument for higher taxes in general? Will it sell? Likely not given the current ethos. So, the idea of focusing on corporate taxes, tax loopholes, offshore tax havens, and making polluters pay, seems good policy. IE, make things fair first before raising everyone's taxes. Hit the main benefactors of the past neo-liberal policies first before hitting the general populace. Make taxes in the current context fair first before asking for more taxes from everyone. The main benefactors have been corporations and big oil. Hit them first before tackling the taxation issue as a whole. It makes sense to me. So, I do feel Mulcair has been on the right track. The only thing I hope for is more feedback on why I, and the population as a whole, will directly benefit from the NDP being in office rather than the Libs or the Cons. I need a bit more to chew on. Horwath gives me this, but Mulcair has fallen a bit short.