'Robin Hood tax' the fix, Layton says at UN
Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton told fellow leaders of the world's social democratic parties, gathered at the United Nations on Monday, that the financial transactions tax should be at the heart of the agenda at the G8 and G20 summits this week.
The financial transactions tax or FTT — also known as the "Robin Hood" tax — would be a small tax levied on daily financial transactions over a certain amount.
Proponents of the FTT argue the money raised would go a long way to alleviating poverty around the world, without having to depend on developed countries' shrinking aid budgets.
Layton said he is worried the fight over a bank tax — a proposal to tax banks and use the money as a safeguard in case of a future financial crisis — is eclipsing "a progressive idea with a regressive one."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposes a global bank tax, and Layton said he won't lose sleep if summit members reject such a tax.
"In this, I don't disagree with my prime minister," he said. "But I will lie awake if certain players conflate these two ideas in the public mind. … I will lie awake if the financial transactions tax never gets a fair hearing because of it."
Layton told the audience the FTT is the right way to go if the world is to succeed in meeting the UN's Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
France and Germany have expressed support for the FTT.
Social democratic leaders were meeting at the UN to discuss the G8 summit coming up in Huntsville, Ont., and the G20 summit coming up in Toronto.