Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner July 2, 2020
Dennis Howlett is one of those accomplished Canadians who has come to live in Peterborough for family reasons, and because he and his wife Elaine like the size of the community, and the access to culture, health and education (plus the ease of canoeing hereabouts).
We stand to benefit from their decision.
Now he is enriching local groups as a member of the board of the Kawartha World Issues Centre, and international ones, as treasurer of the Brussels-based NGO, “Global Alliance for Tax Justice.”
With modesty and patience, he gave me an education in taxation I had despaired of ever “getting.”
After 25 years working for social justice in coalitions of civil society organizations, Dennis spent five years as co-ordinator of Make Poverty History” and the last seven as executive director of “Canadians for Tax Fairness,” based in Ottawa. These were fruitful years of research and policy formation, and then of advocacy as he got to know decision-makers in government and was closely listened to by House Finance Committees.
“I got to know PM Trudeau some years ago as a supporter of “Make Poverty History” when he was an MP. I am most proud of the reform of the child tax benefit which we worked for and which has lifted thousands of Canadian children out of poverty.”
Howlett has a clear philosophy of taxes and he brought me to share the understanding. It was an American judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said in 1927, “Taxes are the price we pay for civil society.” Taxes fund high-quality public services and programs required to meet our social, economic and environmental needs of the 21 century.
We moan and complain and dread income-tax time. But at our core, we know the remark to be true. We only ask that the tax system be fair and honest and transparent. In Canada, the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency), delivers many of the social benefits which have done much to close the wide gap between rich and poor. Much remains to be done. Howlett is lobbying for northern and Indigenous peoples to get help in understanding and filing tax returns. “In Scandinavia” he says, “a government agency does your tax return for you with all possible exemptions, and sends it to you to look over and approve.” Continue Reading >HERE<
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