The Isle of Man tax avoidance scheme is nothing new. Linda McQuaig reminds her readers that Brian Mulroney cut the same kind of deal with the CRA:
The riveting image of the former prime minister accepting wads of cash from a notorious lobbyist — admitted by Mulroney under cross-examination at a 2009 public inquiry — was so eye-popping that it completely eclipsed another fascinating aspect of the story: the sweetheart tax deal Mulroney got from the Canada Revenue Agency after he failed to report the cash.Although Mulroney had hidden the cash payments (totalling $225,000) from tax authorities for six years, his lawyers managed to cut a deal that allowed the former PM to avoid any fines or penalties, and only required him to pay half the taxes he would have paid if he’d obeyed the tax laws — laws that chumps like you and me are legally obliged to obey.
And the treatment of Mulroney wasn't exceptional -- for the wealthy:
The KPMG scam is undoubtedly just the tip of a gigantic tax-avoidance iceberg. Canadians for Tax Fairness, a labour-sponsored group, calculates Canada loses more than $7 billion a year in revenue due to wealthy individuals and corporations using tax havens.Under the Harper government, this sort of tax avoidance by the rich tended to be viewed as a benign activity, a victimless crime, part of the notion that taxes are inherently bad. But, of course, that’s only true if you’re willing to go without schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, pensions and other public goods that require tax revenue.The flourishing, highly lucrative tax avoidance business can also be blamed for the complexity of the tax system, so frequently bemoaned by right-wingers.
The folks Leona Helmsley called "the little people" have their taxes withdrawn with every pay cheque. It's their paper trail and they can't hide it. The wealthy have become very good at hide and seek. It's time the Trudeau government declared that different rules for different folks is no longer government policy. And the new policy has to have teeth.