No pay Siksay

June 3rd, 2009
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Conservatives commonly lament about the taxes they pay for programs and other government nonsense they disagree with.  But taxation is of course not a voluntary exercise and much spleen is vented about the way these involuntary contributions to the “common good” are used.

By contrast, the Left parties are the parties of redistribution, at least in theory gleefully paying taxes in order to benefit others and society in general. They would likely deny any particular glee they seem to derive from spending other people’s money. But they do anyway.

How ironic then to read of a private members’ bill recently proposed by the NDP’s Bill Siksay. I should mention here that, in my experience, Mr. Siksay is one of his party’s most reasonable MPs, someone who is civil, whom one can deal with.

That said, Mr. Siksay’s legislation proposes that Canadians who oppose military spending should be able to have that portion of their tax dollars placed in a special fund that would not be used for that purpose. Or, as one local newsreader described it, those who don’t want to support “the military machine” could have their money go elsewhere. I guess it’s a kind of high-minded conscientious objection that starts with your wallet.

Mr. Siksay appears to be proposing this, as MrK would say, “without irony”. The NDP regularly implies every bit of government spending is justified, (literally) from soup to nuts, and when the question of spending comes up they form a chorus of “more, more, more”. To them, program should be layered on program, “structures” built to correct all the social ills they diagnose. Quoting their politically deceased Liberal confrere, Stephane Dion, the government must have as much “fiscal room” as possible – tax-payers’ dollars to spend.

All that spending is justified, and more. All except for military spending. There we’ll take the moral high ground and withhold our taxes. Forget about the millions of taxpayers who simple have their wealth taken, with little influence on exactly how it’s spent.

Fine. You want to withhold money from the military? We’ll withhold it from all the other government spending we don’t like. In fact, why don’t we have a separate sheet in our tax return where we can tick off boxes for the areas where we want to spend our money? If you’re like a friend of mine, who says he’d “happily pay more taxes”, you can tick all the boxes. You can even write a number in the that box marked “gift to the federal government”. Last time I looked it was still there.

Perhaps Mr. Siksay should give his proposal more thought. He might end up with less (tax dollars) than he was counting on.

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By John Weissenberger