"It's great news MEPs have faced down the special pleading of bank lobbyists with this resounding show of support for a broad based Financial Transaction Tax." - David Hillman, spokesperson for the United Kingdom's Robin Hood Tax campaign
London, U.K. (4 July 2013) - The European Parliament has voted strongly in favour of the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT and more commonly referred to as the Robin Hood Tax) with 522 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voting for it and 141 against with 42 abstentions.
Good public policy beats out bank lobbyist pleading
David Hillman, spokesperson for the United Kingdom's Robin Hood Tax campaign, said "It's great news MEPs have faced down the special pleading of bank lobbyists with this resounding show of support for a broad based Financial Transaction Tax.
"It's a shame the same cannot be said for George Osborne (British Prime Minister) - his determination to safeguard his City chums has blinded him to the benefits that billions in additional revenue could have for our economy and public services."
Will Canada take notice?
With the FTT gaining ground in the European Union and other countries, advocates in Canada hope that the Harper government will end their opposition to the policy.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, NUPGE's National President James Clancy explains that "as more countries see the need and value of an FTT they will similarly move to implement such a measure. We believe that it is time that Canada join with its European counterparts (which include a number of the world's most advanced economies) in implementing an FTT."
Clancy worries that "Canada, which used to be a leader in progressive global initiatives, is becoming isolated in the world community. Our reputation as supporting efforts to end global poverty, enhance the quality of life for the world's people, and address climate change is being tarnished by our actions on the world stage."
However, Clancy says, "by advocating for a global FTT, and implementing such a measure domestically, we would be signalling to the global community that Canada cares."
Tiny tax on financial sector will make a big difference
The FTT is a tiny tax levied on all financial market transactions – the trade of stocks, bonds, foreign exchange and derivatives.
Advocates argue that it will discourage the reckless financial speculation that caused the economic crisis in the first place. At the same time, it will generate large sums of money to help address budget deficits and fund quality public services. The FTT would not apply to most consumer transactions.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE