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The Trudeau government keeps saying it won’t impose a home equity tax.

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But money talks and some six-digit funding checks are raising uncomfortable questions.

The UBC group Generation Squeeze is headed-up by Professor Paul Kershaw. His team released a CMHC-funded report in January that called for a surtax on the sale of primary residences in Canada.

Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has poured an additional $200,000 in taxpayers’ money into the report that’s pushing for a big home equity tax.

Taxing the sale of homes that Canadians own and live in has been off-limits since the 1970s, but this UBC group is set on changing that. The recommendations in its report include targeting the “housing wealth windfalls gained by many home owners while they sleep and watch TV.”

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Outlets such as Blacklocks Reporter and the CTF have been sounding the alarm about a home equity tax for more than a year and each time it’s raised, the Trudeau government and CMHC have called it “horrible reporting.”

So why are the feds dumping our money into a group that’s committed to making exactly that happen?

CMHC had given $250,000 to Generation Squeeze to put together its report. And now CMHC confirmed it set aside another $200,000 for the project.

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Nearly half a million dollars for something the government vows it will never do?

That’s like buying a backyard swimming pool when your apartment is on the 10th floor.

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At best this is a frivolous waste of $450,000 in taxpayers’ money. At worst, it’s damning evidence that the Trudeau government is trying to tunnel taxes out of Canadians’ homes.

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On Nov. 17, 2021, Kershaw emailed Debbie Stewart at CMHC, according to records obtained by CTF’s investigative reporter, James Wood.

Kershaw was asking for money to pay for “knowledge mobilization” around the recommendations in the report, including the home equity tax proposal.

Stewart corresponded with Kershaw following an email he sent to CMHC staff on Jan. 5, 2022, after the report was published.

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“I just watched you on P&P [CBC’s Power and Politics],” Stewart wrote. “Truly enjoyed the segment! I was interested to see how you have positioned the recommendations. I am eager to see the response.”

“Thanks Debbie,” Kershaw replied. “We are definitely serving as a punching bag for many as we work to make the politically impossible (now) possible (sooner than later).”

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A concerned homeowner and CTF supporter contacted his Member of Parliament, Filomena Tassi, MP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, to ask her about the tax.

In response, Tassi’s staff wrote: “There will be no primary residence capital gains tax applied. This is a false rumor that has been floated for a while. It is simply not true.”

This CTF supporter tends toward tenacity and raised the obvious question: if this is a false rumour, why does the government keep funding the report?

Here’s what Tassi’s office wrote in response: “CMHC is not responsible for the views and proposals included in the lab’s final report.”

CMHC spent nearly half a million dollars on a report that pushes a home equity tax, but it bears no responsibility for that report? Tassi will have to forgive taxpayers who have trouble swallowing that line.

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Here’s another burning question. If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t planning on hitting Canadians with a home equity tax, why does his government require homeowners to report how much they made on the sale of their homes to the Canada Revenue Agency?

Canadians can be forgiven for being skeptical, especially when it’s their home’s equity at stake.

Kris Sims is BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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