Tobin Tax Motion Passes in Canada's Parliament

March 24, 1999


Please pass this on to any who may be interested.

On March 23, the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa passed Motion M-239 by a vote of 164 to 83:

"That, in the opinion of the House, the government should enact a tax on financial transactions in concert with the international community."

Finance Minister Paul Martin and most of the governing Liberal party supported the opposition New Democratic Party in favour of the Motion.

The "Tobin Tax" is named after Nobel prize winning economist James Tobin of Yale, a former economic advisor to President Kennedy, who first proposed it over 20 years ago. The concept has continued to gain supporters over the years. Tobin proposed that a small tax of between .1 and .5 per cent on currency exchange transactions would serve two purposes. It would limit the damage from excessive exchange rate volatility (ie. the recent crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil), as well as raising significant revenue for global causes. With global foreign exchange revenues over $1.3 trillion per day, estimated revenue from the Tobin Tax is in the range of $150 to $300 billion per year. By comparison, the U.N. estimate of funding required for universal access to basic social services (ending poverty) is $40 billion per year.

Canadian Finace Minister Paul Martin is currently senior finance minister at the G-7. Obviously support from other G-7 countries, expecially the U.S., is critical to make real progress on this issue. The climate in Europe is more today for a Tobin Tax is more favourable than ever before, so U.S. support is more critical than ever.

CONGRATULATIONS to all who worked so hard writing letters, generating media and contacting MPs to support this motion!!

This could be the start of something big...

Blaise Salmon

Tobin Tax Initiative
CEED/IIRP, PO Box 4167
Arcata, CA 95518-4167
phone: (707) 822-8347, fax: (707) 822-4457

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