Poll suggests Canadians like the idea of a wealth tax

Around eight in every 10 Canadians support the broad idea of a one per cent tax on people who have more than $20 million in net assets, according to poll results published by Abacus Data this week.

The survey results coincide with calls from certain politicians in Ottawa to move ahead with a so-called “wealth tax,” which could have major implications for an industry such agriculture, as farms make large investments in assets such as land, quota, buildings, and machinery.

The Ottawa-based polling agency found 79 per cent of Canadians favour the wealth tax concept, with 35 per cent strongly favouring it, albeit with almost no details on how it would be applied.

Across political lines, Abacus says 64 per cent of Conservative voters said they support the 1 per cent wealth tax proposal, with 86 per cent of Liberal voters and 87 per cent of NDP voters in favour.

“This is not the first poll we’ve done that shows broad support for a wealth tax. There was a cross-partisan, national consensus on this before the pandemic. The economic crisis and the resulting fiscal challenges have likely strengthened support for this additional revenue source,” said Abacus’ David Coletto.

The poll question from Abacus did not get into any further detail on how the tax would be structured or applied in its survey, so it’s difficult to describe the actual impact it would have, including who it would affect, the resources needed to collect it, and how it would influence strategies for minimizing the amount of taxes someone would pay.

The survey also floated the idea of a special tax on companies that have seen their profits increase during the pandemic. 68 per cent of respondents said they would also favour this, with 58 per cent of Conservative voters, 73 per cent of Liberal voters and 77 per cent of NDP voters expressing support.

“What’s most striking is the general agreement across the political spectrum about a tax increase. Raising taxes on the rich and highly profitable corporations is one of the few ideas that both progressives and right populists agree on. Both groups are key parts of the Liberal and Conservative parties’ coalitions,” noted Coletto.

Abacus says the survey included 1,660 respondents from across Canada, and was conducted from November 6 to 12, 2020.

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