Parliament: Speaking to Tax Fairness and Closing Tax Loopholes

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, as this is my first chance to speak to the opposition motion today, I want to put on the record that I will be voting for the NDP motion. I think it is important and timely. The Green Party recently issued a very similar statement to the media calling on the government to keep its commitment and its promise to close tax loopholes, such as the ones that are in the motion.

I have a specific question for the member for Victoria. The Auditor General pointed out a number of years ago that the CRA was not using the software that it had to spot tax cheats and offshore tax havens. Instead, it appeared to be fixating on those lower-income Canadians who might owe much less money but were easier to catch. I am paraphrasing the Auditor General’s comments.

I would ask my colleague from Victoria if he has any concerns that we have the capacity to track tax cheats right now, but have not had the appropriate focus on the, for want of a better word at the moment, fat cats.


Murray Rankin – Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon member for her support of the motion.

The Auditor General did good work in pointing out that we have the tools to do the job, but what we lack in simple terms is political will.

I find it outrageous to look at the Canada Revenue Agency website and see that the hairdresser in Chibougamau has not paid her fair share of GST, the carpenters, the hairdressers, the others, a hall of shame, if you will. I ask members to look on the website for the international tax cheats who have found ways through fancy lawyers and fancy accountants to avoid billions of dollars that they should be paying to the Canada Revenue Agency every year. They will find no mention of them.

The government brags about $444 million in the last budget. Where is the beef? Where is the action on this? Where are we actually showing that we are measuring the tax gap, going after the fat cats whom the hon. member talked of. That is where we will see the difference between rhetoric and reality.