David Swann Calls on Albertans to Stop Paying Taxes

David Swann, former head of Alberta’s small Liberal Party and former provincial legislator, has announced he is going on tax strike.

His strike is motivated by the news that many Alberta fossil fuel extraction and refining companies are in default on their local taxes, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and that the Alberta government is letting that slide. “I am not paying my provincial taxes until these companies pay theirs,” says Swann. “I urge others to join me. Our government shouldn’t have one set of rules for their corporate friends, and another for the rest of us Albertans.”

Premier Jason Kenny seems unconcerned about the lost corporate taxes, which he blames on bad economic conditions for the industry. “You can’t wring money from a stone,” he said. “For companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy that have no cash and very little in the way of assets, there’s not a lot to go after.”

Instead, further tax breaks for these companies are in the works to help keep them afloat. “This government is saying to corporate Alberta that taxes are optional,” said Swann, “when they’re not optional for the rest of us. It’s time to… encourage Albertans to indicate that they’re not going to pay their property taxes as long as the government has this double standard…

“I think more and more outraged Albertans are going to say ‘well, we’re going to withhold our taxes then — who knew that paying taxes was optional?”

In other news…

  • The New York Times reports on how some clever fraudsters used an opaque scheme called “cum-ex trading” to get tens of billions of dollars in double-tax refunds from European countries.
  • The war on speed radar cameras continues, with recent attacks in France and Italy. The French government is trying to refortify the cameras with designs that are resistant to attack, but these too are being knocked out of service as fast as they are deployed.
  • A while back I noted that the IRS was in a tussle with some county governments over the fees those governments were charging to file liens (including tax liens). The IRS refused to pay a portion of the fees, and so the counties refused to register the agency’s liens. It looks like the IRS was the one to blink in this stand-off.
  • In Goma, North Kivu a group calling itself Lutte pour le Changement / LUCHA (“Struggle for Change”), has called on merchants at the Alanine market to stop paying their market taxes in protest against the government’s unwillingness to address unsanitary conditions there.