Canada must back Robin Hood Tax at next G8 & G20

NUPGE president James Clancy says Canada has "an excellent opportunity" to help build a stronger, more equitable and just global financial system.

James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)Ottawa (10 Nov. 2010) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is again urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to throw Canada's support behind a global financial transaction tax (FTT) at at the upcoming G20 talks in Korea and G8 and G20 meetings in France next year.

NUPGE president James Clancy has sent a follow-up letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to change Canada's position and join other major nations in supporting the tax. Clancy last wrote to Harper on the issue in April, prior to the 2010 G8 and G20 meetings in Canada.

Harper was instrumental in keeping the issue from being seriously discussed at the meetings in Canada but will not be able to do so when the G8 and G20 meet in 2011 in France, one of the supporters of a FTT.

"Indications are that it will be on the agenda," Clancy says in his most recent letter.

"These gatherings of the world’s leaders provide an excellent opportunity to erect the foundations for a stronger, more equitable and just global financial system," he wrote. "The 2008 global economic crisis brought incredible insecurity and misery to so many of the world’s peoples."

While Canada weathered the global crisis better than many nations, NUPGE says Canada should use its position among the more fortunate nations to "champion positive and progressive measures" on key issues confronting the planet. 

"Poverty, economic instability and environmental destruction are issues that must be addressed and soon," he argues. 

"The response of Canadians to recent catastrophes in many of the nations of the world serves to remind us that the citizens of this country have a deep and strongly felt commitment to assisting the world’s people. We believe that an FTT would be welcomed and embraced by Canadians."

Clancy notes the G8 and G20 meetings in France will follow a 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for this December in Cancun where the creation of a global Green Fund will be discussed.

"A Robin Hood Tax could provide an efficient and effective means to finance such a fund," he argues.

"Canada’s past opposition to the FTT is putting us at odds with many of the world’s advanced economies.  The respect we once enjoyed in the world is eroding. We need to reverse this trend. On behalf of the National Union, I urge your government to more closely examine the proposals for an FTT."

Clancy says Canada has a history of adopting, adapting and promoting good ideas on the international stage. "The Robin Hood Tax is a good idea whose time has come," he adds.

Copies of the letter to Harper have also been sent to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton MP, BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe, Ken Georgetti, president, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Sharan Burrow, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

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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

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