NDP proposal would take aim at businesses like Amazon and Walmart (Poll)

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh via Zoom on Tuesday, February 9 2021.

During the economic crisis caused by this pandemic, we have learned there have been big winners, and then there have been the small businesses just struggling to survive.

“Those are the places that people think about when they think about their community. They don’t think about the big box stores. They think about the local community restaurant or coffee shop, salon,” said Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “Those are the businesses that have been hard hit.”

Those business owners are also the ones that have been most critical of lockdowns in Ontario. In some cases, business owners on the brink have even opened in defiance of public health restrictions.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has called on the Ontario government to ramp up its vaccination rollout and implement rapid testing. However, Singh has another proposal; implement a pandemic profiteering tax.

“They should be contributing more, just like we did after the world wars, when certain companies were profiteering in the world wars, in Canada we put in place a profiteering tax,” he suggested. “The Parliamentary Budget Office looked at it. It said it would raise $8-billion.”

Those measures would target big box stores like Walmart, online retailers like Amazon, and streaming services like Netflix, which recorded record profits during the pandemic. The money raised could be reinvested in small businesses to help them hire new staff and rehire laid-off workers.

Would you support a pandemic profiteering tax on large and online retailers?

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Singh said other measures would help too, like waiving the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance contributions at the federal level on new staff and rehires and capping credit card merchant fees.

“If we could cap that at one per cent, it would be a really big difference in small businesses’ bottom line,” he explained. “This is a transaction fee that’s charged on every transaction they make.”

Singh floated the plan to small business owners in Windsor on Tuesday during a zoom meeting that included Windsor West MP Brian Masse and Essex NDP candidate Tracey Ramsey.