The Issue:

Essential public services, such as the provision of safe drinking water, safe removal of disease-harboring body excrements, emergency control of fire, and criminal law policing, are generally administered and paid for by local municipal-level governments from property taxes, yet not all local governments have access to adequate tax base property assessments to raise sufficient revenues to provide these services.

News reports often highlight this deficiency especially in some northern communities in Canada where there are low property values and no industries with taxable physical assets. Yet other municipalities in Canada have very rich property value assessments, such as from railways, office towers, affluent homes, livestock barns etc, and can easily prioritize available property tax revenue to fund essential services to keep their citizens safe.

It is not the fault of any citizen born into any community, nor of its elected council, that it may lack sufficient property tax base assessment to enable essential public services to ensure public safety. It is very rarely the fault of local citizens if a mining industry shuts down, or the world price of wheat or meat collapses, or the automobile assembly industry moves out of Canada.

Yet it would be in the vested interest of all Canadians for all of our citizens to become content to stay within Canada, confident that all Canadians together will ensure the basic safety of all citizens. (I imagine citizens in the far north could be enticed to favour their region being removed from Canada if another country was to offer adequate guarantees providing safe public services, and similarly citizens of abandoned rust-belt cities enticed to harbor seditious and criminal gangs to counter perception of abandonment by the rest of Canada.)

PROPOSAL: National Essential Services Equalization:

Assess all real estate property in Canada an equal rate of taxation assessed on the value of property, to raise sufficient funding to provide for essential public services to all communities in Canada. The funds would be entirely re-distributed back to municipal-level and indigenous-level local governments principally on a per capital basis for the long term amortized costs of essential services, with local decision-making.

Higher than average per capital allocations to communities facing more challenging infrastructure costs would be allowed, up to arbitrarily 5 times the national average cost (or more with Minister's authorization), based upon the principal that the least cost sustainable service option be selected - for example, communities built on rock might most efficiently be serviced with home delivery of drinking water and collection of composted excrement; for example, communities surrounded by forest might employ goat grazing services to reduce buildup of excess fuel to ensure fire safety.

All citizens in communities across Canada would thus be assured basic provision of safety via adequate funding of their local governments.

This policy would appeal to bleeding heart political philosophies, as well as to shrewd economic philosophies given prevention is cheaper that the predictable high cost of suppression of criminal unrest in rust-belt slums affording inadequate policing protection, and of civil or international war to prevent succession of the northern archipelago as a result of anarchy evolving in abandoned remote hinterland communities with unsafe drinking water.

A Local Example of Harmful Policy resulting from national taxation disparity:

Even locally in rural agrarian Manitoba there is disparity. The amalgamated municipality of Killarney Turtle Mountain is intent upon encouraging the construction of uncovered liquid hog manure lagoons at great density everywhere beyond three miles of the town residents, effectively making the rural areas uninhabitable by many vulnerable persons due to stench and real negative health risks for rural residents, which shall clear the rural area of most inhabitants who are not compelled to live there to obtain a livelihood. Once cleared of residents, other air polluting industries will be free to move into the rural region of the municipality, and what at homesteading was seen as the finest place in the world by my well travelled great grandfather, will have become an industrial zone where affluent humans will only enter if protected within vehicles providing air cleansing filtration - the sulfurous fumes now emitted by some swine lagoons are indeed vile, of a substantially different and more dangerous composition than when we had one of the first liquid manure hog barns in our own yard when I was a kid. This situation has occurred because our municipal government has deemed it to be profitable for its own enterprise of providing services, if it can entice the swine industry to construct its facilities that increase the total property tax base locally, in competition against other municipalities for attracting industry. But in our case it knowingly abandoned what most would view its primary obligation to protect all citizens from hazards in the air and water and from being bullied by other citizens' industries. KTM does not insist that liquid manure lagoons be at least covered to limit risk of vile odors and dangerous hydrogen sulfide. There is nowhere in KTM, other than immediately adjacent to town, where a U-Pick farm dependent upon a beautiful rural experience for customers, or indeed a cow-calf operation dependent upon the rancher being able to comfortably and safely breath the air in pastures every day of the year, would be wise to locate, given the policy of the town majority elected council to encourage an industry that knowing makes the rural air unsafe to inhale. This policy is endorsed and supported by the provincial government, as directly conveyed under oath by staff from both Municipal Planning and Agriculture at the Municipal Board's public hearing in Killarney in November 2016 - (the Minister for Municipal Affairs was then the MLA for Neepawa which is the primary community benefitting from growth in the hog slaughter industry directly achieved via allowing air pollution in rural Killarney Turtle Mountain). I have since requested "air" pollution be added to "water and soil" in the Manure Regulations (discussed at

Essential Services Property Tax reforms were sent to Keystone Agricultural Producers Nov 20, 2017


The Issue in Manitoba:

Farms involved in the U-pick industry, such as U-Pick strawberry farms, need to locate near to urban areas to conveniently serve large populations, and must therefore purchase typically very expensive farmlands due to proximity to cities.

The education tax burden is unfairly born by such U-Pick farm owners due to the tax being assessed in direct proportion to real estate assessed value, This is unfair between them and other non-U-pick farmers who can own cheaper lands more distant from cities, and also unfair between them and all non-farmers in society who typically own much less real estate of much less value and thus are assessed much less education tax as individuals, even though their personal net worth might be higher just not invested in real estate subject to education tax.

The Contrary Issue:

However, some farmland adjacent to cities is bought by investors, not for the purpose of personally earning a living via the work of farming it, but as an investment vehicle, same as if purchasing an office building to gain rent from it and to speculate that its value will increase. Others in society would not reason it fair for such persons to be exempt from education tax assessment if they invested in farmland instead of in office buildings. Similarly, although very large grain farms may be owned by individuals for the apparent purpose of earning a livelihood, the large tracts of farmland typically also serve and are acquired as investment vehicles of very wealthy persons who happen to be farmers, and much of the work is actually done by employees or supply and service contractors who are prevented from participation in the speculative capital gain by lack of ownership of the land on which they work as farm labourers, and generally precluded from purchasing their own farms due to bank lending practices favouring concentration of farmlands ownership (explained at - entrepreneurs credit union article).

Proposed Reform of Farmland Education Tax:

Exempt smaller farmland holdings that are owner-operated farms from education tax. On the Prairies, it would be reasonable to exempt up to one section (four quarter sections) of farmland per person owning it who also personally actively farms it, from education tax. Education tax would still be assessed against the assessed value of the residence and other buildings, same as for other non-farming members of society. This ensures that typically lower and middle-class wealth farmers who must purchase farmland to earn a livelihood are not assessed a greater share of society's education tax burden than for example a trucker who must purchase a machine to earn a living. It also achieves a favoritism for the socially and rural economically valuable objectives of reversing the concentration of farmland ownership and creating a greater number and diversity of independent owner-operated businesses and more families strengthened by the security of farmland real estate equity.


Defer education tax from all farmland commencing now, until the date it is sold, and then assess the education tax rate in effect then, only against its real capital gain (in excess of monetary inflation) between now and then, applied for each year of the deferral from now until then, but only against 50% of the total capital gain (presumes the gain was linear over the years). This ensures that the speculator who chooses to invest in farmland (includes farmers) is not exempt from contributing to societies' education funding need for the proportion of the investment which is speculative. It also ensures that farming businesses are free of education tax against the farmland base, and that farmer families have the option of transferring it for a capital gain of no more than the monetary rate of inflation to maintain the deferral.

Or, do both of the above:

Allow deferral from paying education tax on farmland, and then assessed only against its real capital gain, to a maximum of 640 acres per owner-operator farmer (two sections of land per typical two person farming partnership).

Education tax reforms sent to Keystone Agricultural Producers Nov 20 2017


To: Hon Kelvin Goertzen, Manitoba Minister of Health
To: Hon Brain Pallister, Premier of Manitoba
To: Hon Cameron Friesen, Manitoba Minister of Finance
Copy: Cliff Cullen MLA, Ian Wishart MLA, Jon Gerrard MLA

To: Canada Minister of Health, and Parliamentary Secretary
To: Canada Minister of Finance, and Parliamentary Secretary
Copy: Kevin Lamoureux MP

December 5, 2016

Proposed changes to the Canada Income Tax and Benefits Return:

1. Line 420: "Net federal tax"

2. Add a new Line 425: "All Provinces' and Territories' health care insurance tax" (having a distinct print colour different from the provincial tax line).

This dedicated health care tax collected is then entirely forwarded to the provinces, but distributed among the provinces in accordance with the relative health care needs of each, based principally on population and age distribution of the population in each province.

The health care tax rate would also vary with the age of the taxpayer. Older persons would pay a higher rate than younger persons, because their risk of needing health care services is higher, and because younger persons may have an accidental death, and thus not have the privilege of living to be an older person typically drawing more heavily upon government health care funding. The age of retirement and all older ages, could be set as the full rate level for the health care tax, with a simple linear tax rate reduction for younger persons. A 25 year old would thus pay 25/65 = 38% of the rate paid by a 65 year or older person.

A wealth factor should also be included, to ensure that wealthy persons who happen to have low income, are also required to pay health care tax similar to high income earners:

3. Line 428: "Provincial or territorial tax"


Federal government achieves political freedom from taxing responsibility for health care, and could implement this change unilaterally to expedite.

Provinces achieve greater collective control over total health care funding.

Provinces retain independence for health care expenditure decisions, achieving diversity of approach to enable learning from each other.

Canada achieves an automatic "Equalization" regarding the federal funding of health care.

Provinces and the public are assured of enduring federal tax collection and fair allocation, via a visible mechanism, ensuring secure long term funding.

Canadians achieve greater equity of funding for health care service needs in all provinces, automatically adjusting for relative demographic and income changes among provinces.

Grant Rigby

farmer and wine maker

Killarney, MB