Monday, November 06, 2017

The Paradise Papers and the Hypocrisy of the Cons

Oh no. What have we done to deserve this? Not another tax scandal, not more Pierre Poilievre. 

As you know when we last left the man they call Pee Wee or Dickhead, he was in a shrunken state, after his phony tax scandal went nowhere.

But now he's back, and more annoying than ever.

Trying to smear both Justin AND Pierre Trudeau.

With this other and much bigger tax story

The chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who played a critical role in the rise to power of the charismatic politician, was involved in the movement of millions of dollars to offshore havens, the Paradise Papers reveal. 

Stephen Bronfman, heir to the Seagram fortune, who was instrumental in Trudeau’s successful bid for the leadership of the Canadian Liberal party in 2013 and the premiership two years later, engaged through his family investment business in a complex web of entities in the US, Israel and the Cayman Islands. Multimillion-dollar cashflows between the three jurisdictions might legally have avoided taxes in the US, Canada and Israel.

Which is probably not a good idea. Not when Bronfman and his wealthy associates may not have done anything illegal.  

Not when this country first got into bed with those tax havens when Joe Clark was prime minister.

Not when Brian Mulroney is reported to be one of the many rich Canadians taking advantage of those tax havens...

And not when Poilievre and the Harper Cons were responsible for making it even harder for the Canada Revenue Agency to go after tax cheats.

Internal Canada Revenue Agency documents confirm the agency is cutting some of its most highly-trained staff and folding international tax evasion units into more generally-focused teams because of the Conservative government’s 2014 budget freeze.

The shakeup is raising concern both inside and outside the agency that the government is backing away from its promised crackdown on offshore tax cheats.

While the Trudeau government has given the CRA hundreds of millions of extra dollars to go after wealthy tax evaders. 

The agency said it's invested $1 billion to tackle the problem and currently has more than 990 audits and more than 42 criminal investigations underway related to offshore tax havens. As a result of audits over the last two years, the CRA said it identified some $25 billion in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. 

And last year, it levied more than $44 million in penalties on tax advisers who facilitated non-compliance with Canadian tax laws.

And is doing more to fight tax evasion than any other government in Canadian history.

But of course, the real problem is that any of this is legal... 

And because it is, so many rich people, corporations, and pension funds are involved it's hard to know where to begin. 

Canada's two biggest public pension funds use offshore tax havens as part of their investment strategies, a Quebec magazine, Finance, says. The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Ontario Teachers Pension Fund both use offshore tax havens to improve their returns and reduce their taxes.

Or what to do with those who may be guilty but will never be prosecuted. 

Millions of pounds from the Queen’s private estate has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund as part of an offshore portfolio that has never before been disclosed, according to documents revealed in an investigation into offshore tax havens.

Because there is one law for the poor, and another for the rich.

But two things are for sure:

One, more needs to be done to fight this global scourge, because it is the main cause of the growing economic inequality that is diminishing so many lives.

Which if not corrected will lead to revolution...

And two, if there is a revolution it will not be the older generation who has benefited from this corrupt system, that will lead it. 

It will be the millennial generation, its victims, who will lead us to the promised land.

And trust me, they will show the guilty no mercy.

And in the meantime, don't believe anything the creeper Andrew Scheer has to say.

For the Cons created the problem.

They are the hypocrites of hypocrites.

They think taxes are evil.

And they would kill this country if they could...


  1. So, wee Andy and peckerhead pete are shocked and appalled the behaviour of the Queen. Her greed has resulted in the poorest Britons paying 99.9% interest on toasters. Just another parasite on the body politic.

    1. hi rumleyfips...Gawd. I'm shocked. Almost as shocked as my parents were when, at the age of ten, I famously declared that Buckingham Palace should be turned into a daycare centre. In order to win back the love of my mother I had to agree that the monarchy could remain as long as the Queen was alive.

      But I like what Owen Jones, the young Guardian writer has to say about the state of Britain today:

      Britain is a ship adrift, with no captain, a shambolic crew throwing each other overboard, and a storm coming our way. We're going to sink.

  2. Been saying for years that Man's Greed will destroy us all on this big ball of mud......

    1. hi Kathleen...greed is indeed destroying our planet, but we can still stop the greedy from getting away with murder. We need to go after them, publicly expose them, and shame them into changing their behaviour....

  3. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Crash and burn Liberals. We just gave Denis Coderre the boot here in Montreal.

    1. Anonymous12:48 PM

      I'll take a ginger-ale billionaire over conservative theocrats and their petro-fascism, thank you very much.

    2. e.a.f.7:51 PM

      I'm with A. 12:48 p.m.

    3. hi anon 9:51...I realize that Cons aren't the brightest bulbs in the universe, but you're REALLY dumb. This new phony tax scandal will have no effect just like the last one didn't, and Denis Coderre's defeat is a gift to Justin Trudeau. I don't know if you have enough brain cells to remember, but Coderre was the one who finished off Michael Ignatieff, by claiming his campaign was run from Toronto. While Valérie Plante modelled her campaign after Trudeau's campaign, and the two of them should work together beautifully. As we say in Quebec, dommage...dummy...

    4. I'm with A.12:48 PM.......

  4. Anonymous10:27 AM

    I've been saying this to the purity ponies in the US who refused to vote Hillary on grounds that she was a "shill for Wall Street": don't hate the player, hate the game. Sanders, the senile Trotskyite, wasn't going to go anywhere with his paltry pittance of spare change from the little guy. In order to compete on the bigly yuge scale, you need a war chest. Unfortunately, there are still people who refuse to believe that Trump's came from Moscow -- or even if they do, they still think Hillary's (and Obama's!) was worse.

    What's important to focus on is the policies, not the distractions. As you said Simon, it was the cons who got this ball rolling in Canada just like it was in the U.S. Reagan was the one who deregulated the banks, and Citizens United was decided by a majority of justices appointed by him and Bushes I and II. If the Democrats (or the Canadian Liberals) wish to attain office to turn the ship around, they can't play small ball in the big leagues. They have to amass a war chest from people with deep enough pockets to support them. Does it create a vicious circle whereby those same donors expect "something" in return for their contributions? 'Course it does. But this problem has been in existence since long before Trudeau was even born, or Obama or probably even Hillary and Trump.

    Leo Kolber became a senator when Justin was in diapers, or at least while he was in primary school still wiggling his front teeth. What's he supposed to do? Cut off all ties with a family friend because a bunch of con hypocrites start throwing a preschool tantrum about "old money"? Not run for office at all and let Harper amass more petrodollars for himself by selling the country to the highest bidder and running it into the ground?

    If the purists hadn't been holier-than-thou in their refusal to fight dirty, we might not have an outright fascist and useful (or useless) idiot for the Kremlin in the White House abusing minorities and cracking jokes about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the need for "samurai warriors" to be "tough enough" to shoot down missiles for Pyongyang. We'd have a competent and accomplished stateswoman.

    Just like if enough purists throw a fit that "le pétit dauphin" drives a Mercedes or sips champagne and ginger ale with the playboy heir to the Seagram fortune, they'll end up with a nasty, lying theofascist from the zombie Harperreich who had no qualms about immersing himself deep in American oil money.

    Like I said. Anyone up in arms about this (according to BuzzFeed Canada and the Guardian's Toronto reporter, most Canadians don't care), needs to look at the man and his platform versus the petty distractions -- and stop hating the player when the real problem is the game.

    So hopefully this too becomes a Canadian-bacon nothingburger. The far more important revelations in the Paradise Papers aren't even about Trudeau and the ginger ale guy. No, the far more damaging leaks involve everyone in Trump's cabinet and Russia, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and scumbag son-in-law Jared Kushner's funneling of Russian investment monies to Twitter and Facebook. Everything else, including Queen Elizabeth, is little more than flat soda.

    1. Anonymous2:07 PM

      Amen Yankee, amen

    2. Trump for all his flaws beat a fixed game to become President. Hillary despite all her strengths, fixed a game she was going to win to lose the country.

    3. Anonymous3:59 PM

      The game was fixed by Moscow and the 30+ year successful campaign by Republicans to dumb down enough Americans that they'd believe total bullshit as long as it confirmed their paranoia about liberals and their uppity constituents "comin' fer yer guns and Bibles." It's the 21st century, so add Facebook and Twitter to the already massive noise machine populated by 24/7 cable "news" and radio bloviators like Rash Limbaugh and Sean Insanity. I'm sure you have your equivalents up there. The CBC itself is turning into a publicly-funded version of Ezra Levant's old Sun TV.

      One of the few things Trump was ever right about was that the press lies. Yet despite all their protestations about how awful he was, they gave him free advertising for a year and a half because he was good for ratings. Just like your con media. If it bleeds, it leads. So look for the lying press to sharpen their knives and try to crucify Trudeau over Sodagate, while letting the cons have a free pass for their blood money from oiligarchs and theofascists.

      I hope Canadians aren't stupid enough to fall for this sh!t, and turf an imperfect but far more compassionate and professional leader, for a corrupt, dangerous bigot like Scheer or the incompetent spoilers of the N.D.P.

    4. hi anon 10:27...

      Anyone up in arms about this (according to BuzzFeed Canada and the Guardian's Toronto reporter, most Canadians don't care), needs to look at the man and his platform versus the petty distractions -- and stop hating the player when the real problem is the game.

      Yup. exactly. All of these phony tax scandals are mere distractions. And if the hypocritical Cons think they can win an election by smearing Justin Trudeau, they've got a hard lesson coming...

  5. They are all dirty. The biggest change starting with Reagan was to make all kinds of illegal financial shenanigans legal. If you are a citizen of Canada, you should not have to battle with Chinese Feregi to afford a house. You should not have to pay taxes while the richest avoid them legally.

    1. hi Steve...the problem is the rich will get away with what we let them get away with. I hope the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers will serve as a wake up call. We need the money so fork over or else...

  6. Anonymous3:51 PM

    That's a good point Simon. Nobody hates taxes more than the Conservatives. They are the party of big business, and the idea that they are the enemies of tax evaders is a bad joke. As one Republican once said, they want to shrink government until they can drown it in a bath tub.

    1. hi anon 3:51...Thank you, it seems to me to be so obvious, but I haven't heard one member of the Con media point out that Scheer spent the last month trying to stop the Liberals from making our tax system fairer, and now he's complaining that the rich aren't getting hit hard enough. Scheer, oh dear, what drug are you on?

  7. e.a.f.7:56 PM

    when Harper and his ilk ruled Canada I don't remember them doing anything to abolish these tax loop holes. I recall them being ever so friendly with big oil. I remember Harper cutting aid to Veterans and disbanding the unit at CRA which investigated the large fraudsters. Now they've got their nuts in a trance because the papers say some of the federal Liberals have used legal loop holes. Well those loop holes were there while Harper was P.M. and he did nothing. although much has been made of federal Liberals allegedly using these loop holes, not much has been said or written about Cons using the same loop holes. Lets have a look at the complete list because its very extensive. Over 300 companies and not a single Con? Over 3000 individuals and not a single Con? Bet you can even find some of my fellow NDPers on the list.

    1. Anonymous11:22 PM

      @ e.a.f.

      Not to mention, Koch money has been flowing into the oil patch for years and even recruiting for a sort of Hitler Youth troop in the U.S., Canada, Europe and elsewhere in the world.

      Let's see the names of Harper's "consulting" clients, and who Scheer is giving speeches to. While we're at it, let's find out who's keeping Ezra's unrealistic lifestyle still afloat and who else's payroll his lackey Marshall might be on.

      Something smells funny with this leak happening mere days after the Liberals got that tax bill passed, and the only high-profile con name publicized being Moneybags Mulroney. Who himself happens to be a player in Trudeau's NAFTA negotiation team, sitting across from the execrable Trump and the rest of his corrupt, Russia-backed goons. There's got to be more to this story than the overblown nothingburger (nothing-beverage?) that "Justin Likes to Drink Soda."

      A bit sophomoric is Adam Sandler's Billy Madison, but watch this clip from the movie to see what I'm talking about. His rival, a scoundrel hotel magnate (!) looking to take over Billy's father's chain of resorts, seeks to dig up dirt on Billy by any means possible. He dispatches a school janitor to eavesdrop, and this is the earth-shattering revelation the old man finds.

    2. hi e.a.f...Harper and his gang did nothing to abolish those loopholes, and in fact made it easier for the rich to shelter their money offshore. At the same time as he nickel and dime veterans, passed bills to make seniors wait until they were 67 to collect their Old Age Security, and of course danced to the tune of Big Oil. I too want to see that list so I can see how many Cons are on it...

    3. hi anon 11:22 pm...I too smell the stench of something dirty in the air. I note how the Con media has suddenly gone silent after spending weeks going after Morneau like a pack of rabid ferrets. A little birdie told me that the Cons were getting feedback from polls suggesting that they had overplayed their hand. And I wouldn't be surprised if their media stooges heard the same message....