Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Revenue Minister says it's ridiculous we're asking questions about tax haven allegations

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After the paradise papers revealed the top Liberal fundraiser's connection to

a Cayman Islands tax evasion scheme, he saidStephen Bronfman had

no other direct or indirect involvement whatsoever in the Kolber Trust”, that trust being

located in the Cayman Islands. We now know that connection came in the form of a $7

million loan that was still in place as of 2005.

Does the Prime Minister still believe Mr. Bronfman has no connection to this trust?

Our government understands that this is a multi-billion-dollar issue, and

we have invested nearly $1 billion over the past two years to tackle it. The CRA uses

the information it receives through lists shared by its international partners as part of

the BEPS project. We have over 37 partners. That is why, as of September 30, 2017,

the CRA was conducting more than 990 audits and 42 criminal investigations related to

offshore financial structures. We are reviewing links to Canadian entities and will take appropriate action.

When the original revelations about Stephen Bronfman's connections to

a Cayman Islands tax haven came to light earlier this month, the Prime Minister said,

We have received assurances that all rules were followed...and we are satisfied with those assurances.”

Is the Prime Minister still satisfied with the assurances that his top fundraiser followed all the rules?

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, these accusations are utterly ridiculous. No one is above the

law, no one is interfering with the CRA's audits, and the law applies to everyone. No

one is above the law.

Mr. Speaker, I think I just heard the minister say that the allegations were

completely ridiculous. Her job is to ensure that her department conducts these

investigations totally objectively, but she has now predetermined the outcome by

declaring that the allegations are ridiculous.

How can Canadians have any assurance that there will be an honest investigation

into Mr. Bronfman when both the Prime Minister and the minister have declared him not guilty?

Mr. Speaker, former national revenue minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn publicly

said that this was not a priority for the former Conservative government. It is a

priority for us, however. We have invested nearly $1 billion. I said this before, and I

cannot be more clear: no one is interfering with the CRA's audits.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not retracted her comment. She seemed to suggest in

her earlier answer that the allegations were completely ridiculous. Well, those

allegations have not even been investigated yet by her department.

We have new revelations from the paradise papers, suggesting a link between Mr.

Bronfman and this potentially illegal tax haven. How can the minister possibly think it

appropriate for her to stand and exonerate him before her department has even had a

chance to conduct its investigation?

Mr. Speaker, no one is above the law, and my colleague opposite knows perfectly

well that I cannot comment on any case involving the 30 million people and companies

that file tax returns.

We understand that this is a touchy subject for our colleagues on the

other side of the aisle, given that fighting tax evasion was not a priority for their

government, whereas we have made it a priority by investing $1 billion.

We are targeting four jurisdictions a year and carrying out criminal investigations.

Mr. Speaker, I am looking for assurance here. Will the minister assure Canadians

that neither she nor the Prime Minister will stand in the way of an investigation by her

department into Mr. Bronfman?

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to assure my colleague across the way by reiterating that

no one is above the law and no one, and I mean no one, will interfere with the audits

and investigations carried out by the CRA.

I trust that my colleague is reassured.

The Description of Revenue Minister says it's ridiculous we're asking questions about tax haven allegations