Yes, Virginia, there are conscientious tax resisters in Canada. Joshua Goldberg is one, and he’s profiled in The Georgia Straight of Vancouver. Excerpts:
, when the U.S.-led so-called war on terror came into full swing, Goldberg has been withholding about eight percent of his yearly income-tax bill, the percentage equivalent of what he says Ottawa normally allocates from the federal budget for military spending.
The 36-year-old Victoria man then sends a cheque representing the amount held back to the peace trust fund administered by the Toronto-based antiwar group Conscience Canada, with a copy furnished to the Canada Revenue Agency. He has since received letters from the agency reminding him that he owes money to the government.
“I don’t want to contribute financially to war and to killing,” Goldberg told the Georgia Straight. “I would be really thrilled to have the military portion of my taxes go to the government to be used for peaceful purposes, whether it’s domestically or internationally.”
Goldberg isn’t losing sleep over the prospect that one day he’ll be dragged to court by the government to force him to pay. “They may, and if they do, I’ll deal with that with the support of other people who have gone through that,” he said. “I really don’t worry about that. My father came to Canada as a war resister during the Vietnam War. People make all sorts of difficult decisions.”
Bruna Nota, president of Conscience Canada, told the Straight that in , some 73 Canadians across the country didn’t pay their income taxes in full and contributed to the peace fund as their way of objecting to Canada’s participation in the U.S.-led war on terror.
Nota said that the peace trust fund has totalled about $30,000 . Although Conscience Canada started advocacy work in , its trust fund was liquidated when a previous set of officers decided to refund all contributors in . Nota said that many former contributors haven’t returned yet since she and her group decided to continue the organization’s work.
“There are many ways of doing conscientious objection,” she said. “One is to withhold taxes and send it to the peace tax fund. Another one is to live below the poverty line so you don’t pay taxes. There are quite a number of them who choose voluntary simplicity as part of the witnessing.”