Friday, January 19, 2018

Tax Havens and the Other Paris Agreement

tax evasion corporations politics business corruption collusion fairness banks

It’s not clear whether the Bill Morneau/Tax Revolt saga that roiled the media and Parliament throughout the last half of 2017 will continue in 2018, but it looks likely.

By mid-December pundits and politicians were calling for the Finance Minister to resign over conflict of interest charges connected with his shares in Morneau Shepell (his pension management company). Moreover, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) was complaining about the lack of clarity in tax changes to be introduced in January.

This brouhaha all started on July 18 when the Trudeau government announced plans to close three tax loopholes available to small business owners who incorporate their businesses as personal corporations, called Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPCs) – affecting quite a few upper middle-class professionals, from doctors, lawyers, and accountants to farmers and owners of small businesses. They were not about to take this lying down.

The CFIB took up their cause and put its own spin on things, arguing that business owners don’t have the “huge” salaries and pensions enjoyed by civil servants to rely on for retirement. On September 5, the CFIB delivered a petition to Ottawa with nearly 14,700 signatures.

Interestingly, it was later revealed that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is a client of Morneau Shepell.

There’ve been some funny moments in all the heated rhetoric, especially on September 19 when Trudeau faced questions about his own finances since he became party leader. He said, “I no longer have dealings with the way our family fortune is managed,” which prompted Conservative MP Lisa Raitt to tweet: “Here’s a tip – if you want to be seen as a man of the people try not to refer to your assets as ‘my family fortune’.”

Behind all the sound and fury, something else has been going on. In order to see it, we have to look at the timeline of events. And that leads to what I call “the other Paris agreement” – not the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change but another Paris agreement, one few Canadians have heard about.  (more...)


tax evasion corporations politics business corruption collusion fairness banks

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