Ottawa, November 9, 2017 – On November 8, the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga Jr., Ontario
Senator, questioned the Government Representative in the Senate during question period over
the Government, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s, response to a top Liberal official being named in
the Paradise Papers for offshore tax avoidance.
Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
When questioned by reporters earlier today about the response given by a top Liberal Party
official who was named in the Paradise Papers for offshore tax avoidance, the Prime Minister
stated, “We are satisfied with those assurances.”
The Minister of National Revenue confirmed in the other place that the Canada Revenue Agency
is reviewing all links to Canadian entities.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate please tell us why the Prime Minister believed
it was appropriate for him to deliver a verdict on a file the Canada Revenue Agency is currently
reviewing? Were the Prime Minister’s comments a signal to CRA investigators?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Let me simply report to all
senators that the government is fully committed to fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax
avoidance. I would refer to the fact that in the course of this government’s actions, 627 cases
were transferred to criminal investigations, 268 search warrants were executed and 76
convictions have taken place with respect to tax evasion.
Additionally, as honourable senators know, because the budget was voted on in this place, there
has been almost $1 billion of additional investment in the CRA for enhanced ability to recover
what has been, as I understand it, the recuperation of $25 billion from the efforts against tax
evasion and tax avoidance.
As honourable senators can see, tax evasion and tax avoidance is a high priority, and there has
been a renewed effort by this government to achieve the results it has.
Senator Enverga: Middle-class farmers and local businesses were accused by this government
of exploiting tax loopholes. Diabetics are denied tax relief, despite certification from their
doctors. Those in the highest levels of power in the Liberal Party hide their assets from public
scrutiny or seek to avoid paying taxes altogether.
Why does this government have one set of rules for middle-class Canadians and one set of rules
for well-connected Liberals?
Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. I understand the
politics of his question, but I would iterate that the Disability Tax Credit is unaltered; its
applications continue to be adjudicated in the same process that it historically has been.
With respect to tax fairness, the consultations the Minister of Finance launched and the further
proposals the minister has spoken of are entirely designed to ensure tax fairness extends itself to
how Canadian corporate structures work.