New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will call for a new tax on wealthy Canadians and another on businesses that have profited excessively during the COVID-19 pandemic when it sets the topic of debate in the House of Commons on Thursday.

At a news conference today, Singh said workers, families and small businesses shouldn’t bear the burden of paying down the public debt incurred by the federal government to fund COVID-19 support measures.

“To pay for the programs, the help that people need … it should not be families, and people, and workers, and small businesses who have struggled,” Singh told reporters. “It should be those who have profited off the pandemic and the ultra-wealthy who contribute their fair share.”

The NDP will propose a motion calling for a tax on people with fortunes over $20 million on its first Opposition Day — when opposition parties get to choose the agenda. 

The text of the non-binding motion, viewed by CBC News, says the tax should be set at one per cent of a family’s wealth. It also calls for an “excess profit tax” on big corporations that the NDP says have been “profiteering” from the pandemic.

The motion says revenue raised from the new taxes should be used to fund health care, housing and other social programs, such as a guaranteed livable income.

NDP MP Peter Julian asked the parliamentary budget office (PBO) in July to estimate the impact such a tax would have. The PBO estimated 13,800 Canadian families would pay the tax and that it would bring in $5.6 billion in 2020-21.

The new tax would cost approximately $113 million to administer, according to the PBO report.

Singh said previous Liberal and Conservative governments both cut programs that helped low-income Canadians, leaving them vulnerable to the pandemic economy.

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