Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 2013 (Bill S-17)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, Bill S-17 deals with tax treaties, as we know, with a number of countries. It is an interesting collection: Namibia, Serbia, Poland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland.


However, relative to collecting on tax debt, I was prompted by the member’s comments about cutting back on staff at CRA. I am wondering if he is familiar with the train of reports we have had since 2006 from the auditor general pointing out that the CRA seemed to have a very poor understanding of where the tax debt was and why it was rising. It was failing to use its risk assessment models properly. The auditor general, for years, has found that CRA staff tends to go after smaller debts, harassing what I think of as regular folks, and leaving aside the millionaires. The large, low-hanging fruit is with the millionaires. Does the hon. member have any comments on the pattern of CRA tax collection?

Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, that is really one of the major points I hoped to bring forward tonight. That is why the Conservatives have wanted to shut down debate. This is the 44th time now they have invoked closure. They always have another excuse. Tonight it was because people support the bill itself. I guess beyond that, what they are actually saying is they hope that no one brings forward their shoddy record on uncollected tax debt and allowing these tax havens. Of course, even though we are operating under closure, we have no hesitation in bringing forward the shoddy record of the Conservatives.

The reality is, as I pointed out and as was pointed out in the auditor general’s report, the $10 million debts are the ones the Conservatives just seem to let go by, but they go after individual taxpayers to pay their fair share and catch up on monies they owe to Revenue Canada.