Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Reactions to the story on offshore tax haven leaks
- Does the budget implement an iPod tax?
- John Baird on his trip to the Middle East
In the wake of the CBC’s major story on the leak of offshore tax haven information, Power & Politics spoke with Liberal Senator Percy Downe, who has been on the tax haven crusade for several years. Downe said that the CRA’s $4.6 billion figure of lost revenue is a low figure, and criticised their refusal to disclose what the tax gap in Canada is. Downe wondered how the government could identify what kinds of resources they need to fight offshore havens if they won’t identify the scope of the problem, and noted that of the 106 Canadians found to be hiding revenue in Lichtenstein six years ago, no charges were ever laid and the cases are considered closed. On Power Play, Don Martin spoke with the director of the International Consortium of Journalists, Gerard Ryle, about the leak that they received, to which Ryle replied that what surprised him the most was that the secretive world of tax havens was not the exclusive domain of the super-rich, but had plenty of doctors and dentists from every country in the world.
With in the Internet burning up over the insinuation that the changes to the preferential tariffs in the budget would increase the cost of iPods – in essence, the iPod tax that the Conservatives castigated the NDPs for allegedly proposing (when it was about a levy for content producers), Power & Politics spoke with an MP panel of Michelle Rempel, Murray Rankin, and Marc Garneau to discuss it. Rankin pointed to the tariff increase, and wondered if the Conservatives were saying that tariffs are not taxes. Rempel responded by reiterating Flaherty’s statement that under General Tariff Agreement, devices that plug into a computer are exempt from tariffs – hence, no iPod tax. Garneau said that his party is poring over the documents, and are not 100 percent clear if this tariff will be imposed because it is difficult to interpret.
Power Play caught up with foreign affairs minister John Baird during his stop in Cyprus to talk about his tour of the Middle East. Baird said that he had been working with his counterpart in the UAE for the past two years to lift the visa requirement for Canadians, and said that they didn’t ask for quid pro quo on this move, even though the dispute began over landing rights for Emirates Air flights into Canada. Baird also mentioned his talks with Bahrain and Qatar with regards to Iran’s nuclear threat, and that he hopes to have important discussions on increasing security in the West Bank during his coming stop there.
- NDP president Rebecca Blaikie said that the changes to the party constitution’s preamble is about better defining what the party stands for, and said that nobody understands what “socialism” means anymore.
- Hannah Thibedeau noted that the CFIA scientists charged with attempting to transport the brucellosis pathogen were likely trying to get involved with commercializing the test they developed in Canada for the Chinese market, even though CFIA owned the patent.