Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan would not support a proposal to create a new tax on financial transactions that is expected to be discussed later this week at a meeting of G20 leaders in France.
“We would be very reluctant to look at that,” Mr. Duncan told a Toronto audience Tuesday at an Ontario Securities Commission conference. “At this point, we haven’t even been asked to consider it.”
Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates is expected to propose a new tax at the G20 meeting as part of a report recommending ways to reduce poverty and boost development in the Third World. Reports say he will suggest the new tax as a way to help poor countries cover the cost of paying for adaptations needed because of climate change.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked Mr. Gates to prepare the report and attend the summit, which begins Thursday in Cannes.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has previously opposed a European Union proposal for a similar tax on financial transactions to help reimburse governments for the costs of assisting banks and brokerage firms during the financial crisis. Mr. Harper has said the tax unfairly penalizes Canada’s financial institutions even though they were stronger than many of their international peers during the recent recession.
Mr. Duncan said Ontario has worked hard to make its tax regime among the most competitive in North America, and he does not want to vary from the plan.