I suspect that much of the wisdom attributed to old age is the perspective that the years bestow. Having lived a certain length of time, it seems inevitable that people will more easily see through rhetoric and facades, much of them perpetrated by democratic governments who claim to represent the interests of the people. One example would surely be Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) involving what many would say are a massive fraud perpetrated on Canadian taxpayers.
Under the guise of combating tax evasion, the federal government opened up dozens of tax loopholes that have allowed Canadian corporations to avoid paying tax on $55 billion in international profits over the last five years.Not surprisingly, the abuses the treaties allow were engineered by the Harper government at the behest of corporations.
The money is funnelled into offshore tax havens and can be brought back to Canada tax free by multinationals based in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.
These offshore manoeuvres translate into billions of dollars in lost tax revenue for Canada, not because companies are cheating, but because they are encouraged to avoid taxes by government policies.
In 2010, Canada joined an initiative launched by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development to make tax havens more transparent and started signing Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with notorious tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Jersey, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands.Says Arthur Cockfield, a professor of tax law at Queen’s University,
At the same time, the tax code was altered to allow any Canadian multinational corporation doing business in a TIEA partner country to bring profits home tax free.
“The corporate lobby is alive and well...“Why did (the government) do it? They were persuaded by industry that it was necessary to be globally competitive.”Yielding to the corporate lobby has proven quite costly.
A joint investigation by the Star and the CBC has found that, since the first TIEAs were signed in 2011, the deals have allowed corporations working in low- or no-tax zones like Bermuda, the Bahamas and Panama to avoid paying taxes on some $55 billion in profits. If earned in Ontario, that money would have yielded more than $14 billion in tax revenue. That’s the equivalent of nearly half of this year’s projected federal deficit.It is, of course, quite easy to demonize the Harper government that engineered these loopholes, starving much-needed programs and placing an even heavier burden on us, Leona Helmsley's 'little people.' Moreover, the true test of whether our new government is any better will be whether or not it revokes these obscene deals.
As one who has come to the conclusion that government is not really there to represent our interests, its rhetoric notwithstanding, I'm betting that Mr. Trudeau will opt for the status quo.