Chris Wattie / Reuters
Chris Helgren / Reuters
The Liberals failed to take any meaningful action on closing tax loopholes or leveling the digital playing field. They failed to deliver, again, on their election promise to end the stock options deduction that gives almost a billion dollars to some of the richest people in Canada. They failed to make the tax system simpler or fairer.
It is outrageous enough that wealthy clients got off with a slight reprimand. KPMG has, so far, paid no price for their role. The committee let Canadians down by not recommending a full investigation into this case and laying charges against KPMG if the evidence warrants it. And Canadians are right to keep demanding one.
Dear Minister Michael De Jong, perhaps it was a good thing that I was not available for your call because I have a feeling you don't really want to hear what I have to say about your government's fiscal management record.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
According to recent media reports based on the Panama Papers, some see Canada as a tax haven. It may seem unlikely when you are reviewing how much tax you paid to the government in 2016 but evidently, our reputation and economy is a good venue for hiding wealth.
There is no doubt that fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance will mean confronting very powerful interests who will push back with a large arsenal of resources, from public relations to lawsuits. We, as parliamentarians, cannot be intimidated.
In regards to tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) should be part of the solution. At the moment, it rather seems to be part of the problem. Over the last few years, we have seen that the CRA institutionalized various practices, eroding the trust that Canadians place in it.
sqback via Getty Images
In the past, Google's actual overseas tax rate has been as low as 2.4% -- across many countries where normal tax rates would be over 20%. Even Ireland charges a measly 12.5%. Google has maintained that these arrangements are entirely legal. Many countries have disagreed.
The money that pour into tax havens does not stay there, but is invested in various countries. However, any financial flow through a tax haven makes it tax-free, and any return on it tax-free as well. Corporations and wealthy individuals invest their finances through tax havens to avoid paying taxes or reduce their tax burden. Canada is no more immune to it than any other country.
John Borthwick via Getty Images
Last April, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed the "Panama Papers" scandal, a database of 11.5 million documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. T...
Chris Wattie / Reuters
The issue of tax havens is inherently international in scope. As a result, the government can use tax agreements to fight tax avoidance schemes. Unfortunately, tax agreements haven't been used for that purpose. On the contrary, they have facilitated the outflow of Canadian money to offshore financial centres, and have done very little to break the damaging secrecy laws of these countries.
Olivier Le Moal via Getty Images
Liberal and Conservative members of the Finance Committee seem to have little appetite to pursue the matter any further and the committee will release its report this fall, and will move on to something else. As long as politicians will be timid and fearful of using their power, Canadians have little hope of seeing the issue of tax evasion or aggressive tax avoidance being addressed seriously by their politicians.
Johnny Chih-Chung Chang
Nobody likes to pay taxes. However, the pill is easier to swallow when everyone pays their fair share. It's increasingly clear that in Canada -- and in most industrialized countries -- many are not. We have a two-tier system where the wealthy and the corporations can escape their obligations, and the rest of us can't.
WPA Pool via Getty Images
Twenty-first century "Canadian" corporate capitalism is quite the racket. Built with public subsidies, a Montréal firm can shift its "head office" to a tax haven and workforce abroad, but Ottawa will continue to use its diplomatic, economic and military might to advance the company's reactionary international interests.
Corruption breeds in the dark and withers under the glare of public scrutiny. As a result, we believe that the most powerful tools to combat corruption are publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership of corporations. These registers ensure that the true owners of corporations are known to public institutions, media and citizens.