Sunday, June 26, 2016
The Harper Legacy and the Canada Revenue Agency
As we all know Stephen Harper used the Canada Revenue Agency for his own foul purposes.
To try to intimidate his enemies, and harass environmentalists, and even humble birdwatchers.
But although Harper has left the building, it seems the CRA is still haunted by his foul legacy.
For it's still harassing the humble, and still protecting the rich and the powerful.
The Canada Revenue Agency claims at least nine people have been convicted of offshore tax evasion over the last two years, receiving $4 million in fines and 84 months of jail time, but it is keeping the names of these tax cheats secret.
Yet there are dozens of people — carpenters, hairdressers, farmers, plumbers, foresters, realtors, architects — who are named and shamed on the CRA’s website for not paying small amounts of tax.
This is outrageous.
This double standard means that small business owners who fall behind on tax payments, or servers who don’t declare their tips, are publicly outed for their relatively paltry offences, while wealthy individuals and businesses caught hiding millions in offshore tax havens are guaranteed anonymity.
And this explanation makes absolutely no sense.
“Although the CRA can provide aggregate statistics on the convictions with links to money or assets held offshore, we are not able to give the names and case numbers of the people convicted as this may contravene taxpayer confidentiality,” wrote CRA spokesperson David Walters in an email to the Star.
For if those who stash their money offshore have the right to hide their names, how can we be sure that the big tax criminals are being caught and properly punished?
Or for that matter deterred from doing it again.
So let me suggest that the CRA should employ a double standard. But one that serves the interests of justice and decency.
By singling out the big offenders, instead of going after the smaller ones so aggressively.
And running full page ads in the newspapers similar to this one...
So they can be properly shamed.
For after the way it behaved during the Harper years, the CRA badly needs to improve it's own image.
It is still tainted by that Con hog's foul legacy.
And enough is ENOUGH...
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This was the first story I read from The Star this morning, Simon, and it left me feeling more outraged than usual, especially given the CRA's rank hypocrisy in naming and shaming the 'little people' on its website. This is all of a piece with the Tax Information Exchange Agreements signed by Harper which I wrote about last Wednesday on my blog. Those treaties, at the urging of the business lobby, in fact facilitated and legitimized much of the flight of corporate capital to offshore havens.
However, as I noted in my blog, that is the past, and the real measure of the Trudeau government will be whether or not it closes those loopholes or allows them to continue. As I noted, I am not optimistic things will change under Justin.
I'm on the CRA website where they list the convictions province by province and most of what I'm seeing is "tax protestors", tax evasion, or accountants helping their clients cheat the system. Haven't seen a "whoops I'm a good guy who fell into hard times" yet.
I do 100% agree with you that the big fish they caught should be named and shamed. It's only fair.
Yet there are dozens of people — carpenters, hairdressers, farmers, plumbers, foresters, realtors, architects — who are named and shamed on the CRA’s website for not paying small amounts of tax. Remember that 400 million given to the CRA MAFIA to fight tax fraud Simon. Well it is used to fight the vey people who work extremely hard to pay their taxes so Canadains may receive some social services, whilst the rich continue to get a free stay out of jail ticket complements of our current government. Our own tax dollars spent our hard earned tax dollars on a new pilot project by CRA MAFIA to send letters to every small business Canada for a "trust examination". Nothing for the big morally depleted, greedy, thieving, criminal Corporations!!!!!!!!! I see it everyday at my office. Voted for Change.....Got the Same!!!!!!!!! This is nothing new Simon, New boss, same as the old boss!!!!!! Ms. Diane L. Of the CRA should reread her mandate letter!!!!!! Try dealing with these oh so ignorant bastards at CRA on files!!!!!!! This is why the underground economy is continuing to grow and I support it in every way I can!!!!!!!! FS
Minister of National Revenue seeks to compel RBC to provide information on clients with links to Panamanian law firm at heart of global offshore tax-haven scandal. I don't think that will ever happen. Seems the big banks are getting protection from the police that the taxpayer pays. I sent an email to RBC about investing in munition companies and when I got home from work the local police were waiting at my door to advise me not to bother RBC again!!!!!!!! Honest!!!!!! FS
I agree. But I think this attidude and culture existed before Harper, and it will still be there when Trudeau is leaving.
Yeah, if the CRA was a serious institution, it would investigate Stephen Harper and all of his cronies.
What about Lord Hufflepuff and his Bridle Path estate? Time running out for him? He endorses Brexit AND Trump .....
It is not about shamming. Its about the taxpayer's right to know who is ripping them off. Either they all are named or none. Publishing the names of small time debtors to the system, sinks on ice.
As Mother always said, there is one law for the rich and there is one for the poor.
perhaps the minister responsible could phone their D.M. and tell them to stop this messy affair. We who have commented here could simply all write a letter to the Minister and our M.P.
Politicians come and go, the bureaucracy endures forever.
Writing to your MP or PM falls on deaf ears. Never a response!!!!!!! Only auto response thanking you is about it for this current government. My Lieberal MP will not answer my calls or emails despite being at my doorstep at least once a week during the election. Voted for Change.....Got the Same!!!!!! FS
Hi Lorne....the Trudeau government has provided the CRA with more money and new marching orders, which is a good start. Changing the culture within the CRA will be another challenge after ten years of the Harper Cons, as it is for the RCMP. As for changing the laws, that will take time, but we already have laws to deal with the problem, they just need to be enforced. As for your fears about the Trudeau government may I suggest that after your generation helped create the problems we are now dealing with, maybe you should give our new government a little more time to deal with them. Justin Trudeau is already the best Prime Minister I have ever known but he is not a magician..
Hi MC....yes, the problem is the big fish have armies of lawyers at their disposal, so it's easier for the CRA to go after the little people, you know fatten up their record by taking the path of least resistance. If we are to tackle the big tax cheats, we don't just need accountants, we need more lawyers and money to fight them in the courts....
Hi anon....I thinks it's unfair to blame the new government. They have given the CRA more money to hire more investigators, and they have directed them to go after those who are hiding their money in off shore tax havens. But all of this is a complicated and takes time so be more patient....
Hi FS....I'm sorry that you were visited by the police, but may I suggest that writing to the banks won't to any good. A better way to pressure them is to lobby your MP, try to get a petition going in your riding, and use the MSM to your advantage. You and I they can ignore, but they can't ignore a political movement....
Hi Gyor....I agree with you it is a problem caused by an engrained culture, as it is in other institutions like the RCMP. However, there are way to change those cultures and we should encourage the government to do that. For as long as things don't change citizens can't have any confidence in their institutions, and that can only make the problem worse...;)
Hi anon...you know my position. We need a full public inquiry into the activities of the Con regime. And nothing less will satisfy me...l
Hi anon.. I see Lord Hufflepuff or as I call him Lord Hot Crossed Bun has just settled his Bridle Path problem with the CRA. One can only hope that we will all get a chance to give it the once over. But at least one thing is sure, he's a whole lot poorer than he once was...
Hi e.a.f....don't be such a defeatist. The times are changing, as we can see in the U.S where Bernie Sanders became very popular by urging the government to go after the big banks.. The one percent have got away with it for too long, but now is the time to go after them..l
You are really funny Simon. My MP does not return calls, or respond to emails. He does spend a considerable amount of time Tweeting just how fabulous he is. You cannot contact anyone in government. And yes I blame the current government for not going after the big tax cheat criminals. They most certainly gave CRA over 400 million of our tax dollars to attack us whilst the real criminals go free, get a great deal, and are never named. Like I said Simon, meet the new Boss at CRA......Same as the old Boss. She never responds to me either. There is not enough Canadians willing to stand up to the CRA. I have many clients that would rather bend over and pay what they DO NOT owe just for CRA to leave. CRA is just MAFIA with lots of ignorance built in for good measure!!!!!! No more patience for corruption and ignorance on my dime. Been waiting since October 19th, 2015 for change but unfortunately thing remain the same, or probably worse in my eye!!!!! FS
Hi FS...if you think that the Trudeau government is worse than the Harper regime then you must be a Con troll, and you should post your comments elsewhere. I take the trouble to try to answer all comments, but I don't have the time to deal with nonsense like that. How do you expect to be taken seriously when you make statements like that? So restrain yourself or I will delete your comments on arrival...
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