• Ottawa Should Reveal $16 billion in Hidden Spending

    Greater visibility in budgets, estimates and public accounts would not make such preferences disappear – plenty of programs that do show as spending in these documents have persisted for decades, and have expanded… changes to the reporting of tax preferences that show their spending equivalents would give Canadians a valuable tool to improve federal fiscal policy.

  • Canada’s role in ‘snow washing’ money to evade taxes

    In order to get hold of… Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) identification documents — you need to produce some evidence of apparent wrongdoing on the part of a target company to convince a magistrate to sign a disclosure order or warrant. But having gained access to a Canadian company’s records, you’ll often be faced with a total lack of UBO identifiers. Those UBO identifiers need to be made available: not only to frustrate tax evaders, fraudsters and money launderers, but potentially terrorists, who might use the anonymity associated with underregulated companies to fund their murderous activities.

  • End this needless secrecy

    It can take so long to get records through the FOI process that they become irrelevant. The system stymies the ability of the public, usually through the news media, to know what quasi-judicial bodies like the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission are doing in some of the most controversial areas of public policy.

  • Bill Morneau pledges to spend — but first he has to cut

    If the government plans to spend any money in this budget, it will have to be funded from new revenue sources — and there is likely to be a political cost to tapping those streams… Having ruled out taxing health and dental benefits, he may opt to eliminate the deduction on meals and entertainment that make corporate boxes feasible at hockey games, or kill the age amount tax credit claimed by people aged 65 and over.

  • A real job for the democratic institutions minister

    Don’t just make cash-for-access fundraisers more transparent; end them altogether… Beyond changing the rules… ensure that parliamentary watchdogs are better placed to enforce them… Fix our access-to-information laws – now… The danger of backtracking on electoral reform is that the government may have contributed to the malaise it purportedly sought to address.

  • Out of the Shadows: Shining a light on Canada’s unequal distribution of federal tax expenditures

    This study finds that Canada’s personal income tax expenditures disproportionately benefit the rich and cost the federal treasury nearly as much as it collects in personal income tax. The study examines the income distribution of benefit for the 64 personal income tax expenditures for which there is available data. Out of the 64 tax expenditures, 59 of them provide more benefit to the top 50% of income earners than the bottom half, with the largest share going to the richest 10%. The cost of those 59 expenditures totalled $100.5 billion in 2011 alone.

  • In scathing ruling, Federal Court says CSIS bulk data collection illegal

    The Federal Court of Canada faulted Canada’s domestic spy agency Thursday for unlawfully amassing data, for misusing its surveillance warrants and for not being forthright with judges who authorize its intelligence programs. The court is also revealing that CSIS no longer needs warrants to collect Canadians’ tax records because of changes wrought by Bill C-51.

  • Should the government rethink the way it deals with charities?

    If we accept that there’s a place for charities, and support at least some limits on their political activities, where does that leave us? In short: in need of a complete overhaul of the sector. Rather than one set of rules applying to all charities (regardless of their size and purpose), we need targeted rules that apply differently to different organizations… In all cases, a clearer definition of “political activities” is required and partisan activities should remain strictly off limits.

  • What Tax Avoidance Costs Us (For One, Pharmacare)

    … here’s my list of the questions we need to be asking Canadians: Do you believe that Canadian corporations should pay the stated corporate tax rate — the second-lowest in the G7 — and be prevented from using tax havens to avoid paying their share? / Would you support clamping down on the use of tax havens and other loopholes, and using the billions gained as a result for public programs like pharmacare?

  • Kathleen Wynne is this close to ending cash-for-access. Don’t stop now

    … there are still two big problems with Bill 201. One is the inclusion of a taxpayer-funded subsidy of $2.71 per vote… Per-vote subsidies are pure cash grabs. Political parties can and do raise more than enough money directly from small donors… The other is the lack of any regulation to prevent parties from selling access to politicians… opposition parties… have proposed amendments that would explicitly ban the practice. Mr. Naqvi should consider them.