Quebec is the only province where Canadians must file two separate tax returns. As a result the Quebec government wants Ottawa to allow the two tax systems to merge, with Quebec administering the process.
According to Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, that's not such a terrible idea.
“It’s ridiculous that Quebecers are the only people that aren’t allowed to file just one return,” he said in French during a debate on the motion.
The party introduced a motion calling on Parliament to endorse the idea after 89 per cent of delegates at a meeting of federal Conservatives in Quebec voted in favour of a resolution to combine federal and provincial tax returns into a single form collected and administered by the province of Quebec.
While popular with some, and it could potentially save $400 million annually, it has been opposed by the Liberals and the PPC.
The NDP supports the motion in principle, but will still likely vote against it given the potential for 5,000 job cuts as a result of the transfer. These cuts would likely occur because it would make no sense to retain CRA staff in Quebec when they no longer have jurisdiction in Quebec.
The cross-party opposition will assure the defeat of the motion, none the less it seems worthwhile to ask, whether a change is actually needed, and more importantly, why the Conservatives have taken on this issue?
Here Transport Minister Marc Garneau has pointed out that either the provinces will have to switch their standards to match Quebec's or Quebec will have to match the provinces, both are unlikely scenarios.
Furthermore, while some savings are gained in the short term, the overall capacity for Quebec to coordinate with international organizations will be all but non-existent since it’s the national government that’s responsible for treaties and international agreements.
According to IPolotics, "a subnational government, like Quebec, has no standing in most of these agreements and no seat around the table at organizations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development".
These losses and the lack of a national objective make it hard to justify changing Canada's current system for tax collection, just to appease many voters in one province.
That is until you look at the numbers.
Roughly 81% of voters support creating a single tax bill in Quebec.
With Quebec being an extremely divided province, this kind of issue could play as the bedrock for a Conservative campaign to end a majority Liberal government, given the clear opposition from the Liberals on the idea.
So does the idea of providing Quebec with this right actually benefit Canadians?
Doesn't seem like it, but it certainly could provide the Conservatives with the ability to form government come 2019, that is, if Canadians in other provinces do not punish Quebecers for it.
What do you think about this issue? Should Ottawa collect these taxes, or should each province collect taxes individually?
Join the conversation by commenting below!