The Liberal Senate Forum


facebook Ideas Forum youtube flickr

Meet Senator

George Baker

The Hon. George  Baker, P.C. Senator George Baker is the former MP for the riding of Gander - Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador). He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1974, and was re-elected at every subsequent federal election. Since March 26, 2002, he has served in the Senate of Canada, representing the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Letters to Gail: #2 in a series regarding her lack of action in dealing with overseas tax evasion

More on...



Read the comments left on this page or add yours.
Published by Senator Percy Downe on 20 April 2012

April 16, 2012

Honourable Gail Shea, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Revenue
555 MacKenzie Avenue, 7th Floor
Ottawa ON  K1A 0L5

Dear Minister Shea:

I have a question regarding application of the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP).

Four years ago, the Government of Germany gave the Canadian Government a list containing the names of 106 Canadians with hidden bank accounts containing over $100 million in Liechtenstein. In 2009, the Government was asked in Parliament if any of the 106 had — or were eligible to — take advantage of the Voluntary Disclosures Program. The Government's response was:

The voluntary disclosures program, VDP, promotes compliance by encouraging taxpayers to voluntarily correct previous omissions in their dealings with the CRA. A requirement of the VDP is that taxpayers must make a full disclosure before the CRA commences any compliance action or investigation. If they do so, they may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest, but not face penalties or prosecution in the courts.

As compliance action has been commenced on all of the listed taxpayers, they are no longer eligible for consideration under the VDP.

The following year, however, the Government had changed its policy, with no explanation:

As of June 10, 2010, 20 residents of Canada who have accounts in Liechtenstein had availed themselves of the CRA's Voluntary Disclosures Program.

CRA's own definition of voluntary disclosures disqualifies circumstances where the taxpayer was aware of, or had knowledge of an audit, investigation, or other enforcement action set to be conducted by the CRA. The CRA has stated on the record that due to the fact that compliance action had been commenced on all of the 106 Canadians discovered to be hiding money in Liechtenstein, none of them were eligible for consideration under the VDP.

My questions are as follows:

1. How does the CRA reconcile these two contradictory statements, made to Parliament only a year apart?

2. Who lobbied the CRA, or you as minister, to change the policy, and would you please provide the list of those who lobbied?

3. Would the Government provide a copy of all documents and communications (including letters, e-mails, memoranda, etc.), related to this policy change?

4. How much of a financial benefit did the recipients of this policy change receive (i.e., reduced taxes and penalties)?

This is an issue that has caused Canadians to write to me expressing their concern and asking for an explanation, and I, in turn, am asking you.

Original signed by
Percy E. Downe

Recent Posts

A Tribute to the Veterans of D-Day

20 Jun, 2014 | By Senator Claudette Tardif | Seventy years ago, thousands of Canadian soldiers landed on the French shore amid a sea of flames to help liberate Europe and restore democracy.

Arctic Sovereignty—Part Five

16 May, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | In December 2013, Canada made its submission to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Canada failed to include any reference to Inuit rights to the Arctic.

Senate Reform

29 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchell | The Supreme Court of Canada did not kill the possibility of meaningful Senate reform with its recent ruling on term limits, elections and abolition. Don't let anyone tell you that it did.

Notes on Supreme Court Decision on Senate Reference

25 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | The Supreme Court of Canada today confirmed what Senate Liberals have been saying since 2007 about Mr Harper’s proposed changes to the Senate.

Canada's Aboriginal people: What's in a name?

24 Mar, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | Some people are confused by the different terms used for Canada’s Aboriginal people.
« 1 2 3 4 5  ... » 

You can retrieve this page at:
Please recycle this document.