LILLEY: Singh wants to tax offshore tax havens Trudeau won’t touch

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I don’t agree too often with the NDP, but when it comes to saying offshore tax shelters are wrong, I’m on board with Jagmeet Singh.

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Why should ultra-wealthy Canadians be able to use trust funds and offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes in Canada?

Jagmeet Singh says he would give CRA, the Canada Revenue Agency, the tools they need to make sure tax shelters are following the rules rather than avoiding their taxes.

“We’ve heard from a lot of public sector workers, workers in the CRA, that if they had the right resources, if they had enough resources and staffing, they would be able to increase revenues by $25 billion a year alone,” Singh said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has talked a lot about making the wealthy “pay their fair share” but when it comes to doing anything that would hurt the finances of him, or his friends in Westmount, Trudeau won’t act.

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Trudeau is, of course, a trust fund baby. His chief fundraiser for many years, Stephen Bronfman, was someone whose name turned up in the Paradise Papers.

Released in November 2017, the Paradise Papers exposed thousands of people around the world, via 13.4 million documents across 19 different tax havens.

Included in the list were Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser Stephen Bronfman and Leo Kolber, a late Liberal senator who had served as chief fundraiser for the Liberals under Pierre Trudeau and who had close ties to the Bronfman family.

Two generations of top Liberal fundraisers have been attached to offshore tax havens while Justin Trudeau continues to speak of making the rich pay their fair share.

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“Tax avoidance, tax evasion is something we take very seriously,” Trudeau said shortly after becoming prime minister.

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His actions tell a different story.

As Singh says, there hasn’t been a single conviction for tax evasion in the six years that Trudeau has been in office.

Then again, should we be surprised?

Trudeau was standing next to Steven Guilbeault on Monday, the heritage minister who according to his own disclosure to the ethics commissioner, owes more than $10,000 to Revenu Quebec, the provincial tax collector.

Guilbeault has stated that it is a result of a family separation but it’s a bad look for a minister and government who have accused small business owners of being tax cheats and regularly said that Canadians were not paying their fair share.

Guilbeault, though, is a small fish in this ocean of tax avoidance and tax evasion. His is really just tax arrears, something many people can relate to.

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What most of us can’t relate to is the life of Justin Trudeau and his friends. Living off trust funds, as Trudeau has done, funds set up to avoid paying taxes to pass on the most money to the next generation.

We’d all like to do that but most Canadians don’t have the wealth or the options to follow suit.

In the meantime, the Liberals under Trudeau have not yet released their platform. Does it include the hike in the GST that bureaucrats are pushing the government to adopt to pay for their out-of-control spending?

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Will their promise to impose a capital gains tax on primary residences really be held to those who sell after one year or will it be expanded? We know the Liberals have studied the issue and been told it could bring in more than $7 billion a year.

See, part of what makes Jagmeet Singh’s tax plan for offshore accounts of the ultra-wealthy seem more palatable is taking a look at the options for raising revenue the Liberals are reviewing and realizing that Trudeau would rather pick your pocket than make his friends pay their part of the bill.

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