by John Fisher
THE EARLY 1900s. The Town of Weston (now in N.W.
Toronto) experimented with site value taxation in the
1930s. Site value maps were made using landowners' own
valuations which were linked to buying/selling figures.
However, WW II brought the experiment to a halt.
Rodney, Ontario, Canada
In the early part of the century, Georgist ideas
were popular in Canada, especially in the West (see
Alberta's Heritage, Land Value Taxation, Oct. 1962). In
Ontario, Premier E.C. Drury of the United Farmers of
Ontario got close to implementing Georgist principles (see
excerpt from E. C. Drury, Agrarian Idealist, by Charles
Active Ontario Georgists of the time were Arthur
and Ernest Farmer and Arthur Roebuck (later to become
Senator). The School of Economic Science was founded in
1938. Also in 1938, the Single Tax Association of Canada
hosted the 13th Henry George Congress in Toronto.
THE RISE OF GEORGISN IN THE '60S AND '70S. The
School of Economic Science had a staff (mostly part time)
of over 100. Graduates from Basic Economics, Protection
or Free Trade, etc. formed the Alumni Group. The Square
Deal was the monthly alumni publication until the late '70s
with John Fisher (Dec. 1962) being just one of the many
Activities included submissions to the Smith (1967)
and later Blair Commissions on Taxation. Numerous letters
to the editor were printed. Alumni members were on radio
and many politicans, including Conservative M.P. Paul
Hellyer (1973) and Liberal M.P. Michell Sharpe visited the
School of Economic Science office in Toronto.
A major project in the early '70s was the Port
Credit Project spearheaded by Malcolm McCarthy. An
extensive site value assessment and taxation report was
done with the cooperation and support of the town of Port
Credit (west of Toronto) and resolutions from over 30
Very active Georgists during this period were Art
Adamthwaite, Craig Cringen, Tim Fielding, Laurie Mannell,
Helen Nesbit, and Peter Vanneggelen. Other supporters and
activists were in the hundreds.
GEORGIST REBIRTH IN THE LATE '80S AND '90S. The
Canadian Research Committee on Taxation (CRCT) made several
submissions to the Ontario and federal governments (i.e.,
Peterborough and the Site Value Connection - Ontario
Ministry of the venue).
Site Value Taxation studies were done in Rodney
(1991) and after amalgamation, Aldborough (1997). The Two-
Tier Property Tax Committee in Peterborough (Mal McCarthy)
produced the Peterborough Report (1991).
Tax reform support was received from the City of
Ottawa (Frank Peddle.) Peddle also wrote a book, Cities
and Greed (1994).
Mal McCarthy was on the Working Group (Property
Tax) with the Fair Tax Commission (1992).
Frank Peddle, as Research Director of the CRCT,
produced the City of Montreal Two Rate Impact Study (1998)
and follow-up publications to the Ontario Fair Tax
Commission Report (Henry George and the End of Tax
Commissions) and the Montreal Bedard Report (The Missing
Link in Municipal Restructuring).
Recently, due to the efforts of John Fisher,
Georgist economic philosophy has been largely accepted by
the Ontario Green Party. The "Tax Shift" (building value
to site value) is now found in the GPO Election Platform
and in many Green Party brochures.
Although Conservatives, Liberals and the New
Democratic Party have all rejected site value case studies
in the past, it seems the next government (Liberal?) may
give more attention to the wholistic Tax Shift approach as
recommended by Pembina Institute, National round Table on
Economics (NRTEE), Center for Integral Economics and the
Green Party. The Site Value Tax Shift is either a part of
this wholistic approach or has a sympathetic ear within
John Fisher is chairman of the Ontario/Quebec
chapter of Common Ground-USA. He may be emailed at
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.