MAKICHUK: Should you stay, or should you go?

Our hero, PM Justin Trudeau.
Our hero, PM Justin Trudeau.Courtesy CBC

And so, it has come to this, my friends.

The National Post/Financial Post recently ran a story on well-off people leaving the country because of high taxation and other things.

Namely, Justin The Terrible, and his band of Flying Monkeys, who are hell-bent on destroying the country and taxing it to oblivion.

Running it off a cliff while wearing 'green sunglasses.'

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail, jokingly suggesting that the Liberals could tax lots of things... such as, every time you flush your toilet? They could install a meter, that keeps tabs on it.

They could also launch a special Peanut Butter tax, if you or your children happen to like that.

For every kilogram of fresh peanuts produced, 0.57 kg of CO2e is released into the atmosphere, the equivalent of 2.5 kilometres of driving.

A fruit tax? The growing, picking, transporting, and packaging processes of fruit can create significant carbon emissions.

Or maybe a carbon/travel tax, if you exceeded your travel allotment.

The possibilities to gouge Canadians in a tangle of new taxes are endless.

Joking aside, have a look at these tax changes being unleashed, on you and me:

• The federal government will start collecting a second level of CPP contributions in order to meet its commitment to boost CPP payments to retirees.

Combined with the annual increase in CPP contributions, the added second level means an employee's annual CPP payment will go up by $302 in 2024, increasing from a 2023 maximum of $3,754.45 to a 2024 maximum of $4,045.50.

Employers are required to match the contributions of their employees dollar-for-dollar, which means each employer will also see their per-employee CPP contributions jump by a maximum of $302.

Because self-employed people are both employers and employees, they get nailed — they have to pay both the employer and employee portions.

• In 2023 there was only one pension ceiling — the maximum pensionable earnings amount. Last year, that maximum was $66,600. Once the $3,500 exemption is factored in, that means that in 2023 the 5.95% CPP contribution rate was applied on incomes of $63,100 or less.

The first pension ceiling is now $68,500 — or $65,000 after the $3,500 exemption is factored in — bringing the first CPP contribution maximum in 2024 to $3,867.50 for both employers and employees.

But starting on Jan. 1, 2024, a second earnings ceiling of $73,200 comes into force.

To get from a $3,867.50 annual contribution to $4,045.50, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) takes the income amount over $68,500, up until it hits $73,200, and multiplies that extra amount by 4%.

In 2024, the maximum income a person has to pay CPP contributions on under the second ceiling is $4,700, which works out to $188.

• All five federal income tax brackets for 2024 have been indexed to inflation using the 4.7 per cent rate. The new brackets are: zero to $55,867 of income (15%), although taxpayers with a net income of $165,000 or less may claim a $15,000 tax credit, meaning they effectively pay no tax on the first $15,000 of income. From $55,867 to $111,733 it's (20.5%); above $111,733 to $173,205 (26%); above $173,205 to $246,752 (29%); and anything above that is taxed at 33%.

• On April 1, 2024 the price on carbon goes up from $65 a tonne to $80 a tonne in provinces where the federal backstop applies. The backstop does not apply in Quebec, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories because they have their own carbon pricing systems.

In provinces using the federal backstop, the price on carbon is applied to emitting fuels through fuel charge rates that vary from fuel to fuel based on the amount of CO2-equivalent emissions they generate when burned.

• On April 1, provinces and territories using the federal backstop will see gasoline fuel charges rise to 17 cents a litre from the 2023 rate of 14 cents a litre, while the propane fuel charge will increase to 12 cents a litre from 10 cents.

• The alcohol tax is also set to impact those hitting the bars and the owners. The government was set to increase taxes by 6.3%, the biggest increase in 40 years. However, it held it to a 2% cap, but the remaining 4.7% will be added as an increase on April 1, 2024. 

• The elimination of some short-term rental deductions kicks in on Jan. 1.  Yep, if you're renting it out as an Airbnb or a Vrbo, you just got kicked in the crotch, Fidel Castro style.

When the feds announced this change, it justified the move by saying that in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver in 2020, there were almost 19,000 homes being operated as short-term rentals that could be used for permanent housing.

And guess what, that is your fault! LOL!

Costa Rica.
Costa Rica.Handout

Because of your naughtiness, the feds are now eliminating that tax break — how dare you, try to make extra cash! — denying operators of short-term rentals any income tax deductions for expenses if they operate in provinces or municipalities that have banned short-term rentals. 

• Employment Insurance premiums also rise as of Jan. 2. Workers will now contribute $1.66 per $100 of earnings, an extra three cents over last year, while employers will provide $2.32 per $100 of pay, up four cents.

• Oh, and if you receive OAS, the OAS repayment threshold is set at $90,997 for 2024, meaning your OAS will be reduced in 2024 if your taxable income is above this amount.

Now that we have all that straight …

Time to add in Justin's House of Horrors: your rising auto, house insurance, property tax or rent or mortgage costs, grocery costs and what-not.

Then, my friends we have an argument for moving to Mexico … or is it Costa Rica … or Panama … or somewhere.

Remember that nice vacay to Rome you and the wifey always wanted and were saving for? Forget it. Trudeau spent it in Dubai, and now he’s coming for you.

With Trudeau and his gang, it’s all about a top-down dictatorship. You don't have a say, in anything folks. You just pay, and pay, and pay.

According to Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), higher payroll, carbon and alcohol taxes could add between $700 and $1,300 to the tax bill of the average family.

And that doesn’t include the impact of inflation the Trudeau government has caused, the Toronto Sun reports. Or the effects of their immigration flood on housing prices and per capita GDP. Or the future costs of their net-zero electricity grid and electric vehicle mandate.

The cost of the Liberals’ “green” fantasies alone will be nearly $2 trillion over the next 25 years — and guess who's going to pay for that.

The middle class, is being choked to death, and Ottawa doesn't give a damn, while pretending it does.

So, should you stay, or should you go? Is it time, to give up on Canada? Pack your hockey stick and leave?

Some have had enough, and are going. But is it worth it to abandon Canada, whose best qualities are that it’s boring and safe?

Sure, we freeze our asses off every winter, get gouged by banks and their criminal credit card interest rates, are forced to watch bad Canadian NHL teams — imagine, the Leafs are our only hope — but it's basically, kinda, sorta OK. If you can afford it.

But don't think, it's going to stop there, my friends. Oh no, there is more to come. Much, much more, to come.

One friend tells me, sooner or later, the feds will have to grab our RRSPs — borrowing the money, with the promise of paying it back.

A crazy idea? Maybe not. In a bizarre reversal of Robin Hood, they may one day steal from the poor, to give to the rich bureaucrats.

Still ... if you're hitting the eject button, there are many things to take into account, and not just visa hassles and bed bugs.

Yes, it may be cheaper where you going, but how about things like air and drinking water pollution, garbage disposal, relative day-to-day safety, noise and light pollution, quality of greens and parks, quality of health care and hospitals, risk of tropical disease (in some locations), overall cleanliness and quality of life.

In some countries, corruption is also rampant. Anything to do with police or the judicial system, can end up badly. And if you do need help who will you turn to?

When I lived and worked in Bangkok, my colleagues gave me the phone number to the British embassy, told me to keep it in my wallet, and to phone them if I got into any serious trouble.

The Canadian embassy, they said, was useless. If I phoned them, I would get an answering machine.

The importance of good health care and dental care, is also an issue. Especially if you have a precondition, which is not covered by your travel insurance.

By the way, in Costa Rica, relatives tell me both are actually much cheaper, and top notch.

And look, you’re still going to have to pay taxes to Canada, but your lower cost of living will likely make up the difference.

And while you sit on that beach, enjoying a nice cool Corona and watching the sun set into the ocean, you may just wonder why you didn't leave Canada sooner.

But research it well, before you go. Visit the country first, and check everything out from A to Z. Talk to expats, and get their take.

Find a friendly bank, in advance. Maybe secure a lawyer too.

Get some boots on the ground, to help you. Don't parachute in.

And don’t forget to send a birthday card, to Justin.

— with files from CBC News

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