Published by Senator Percy Downe on 03 May 2012
May 1, 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 am writing you today with an inquiry about the Government’s progress in negotiating a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Liechtenstein.
In a recent news broadcast (CBC Television’s The National, Thursday, April 5th, 2012), your office made reference to 19 such agreements, but made no mention of any agreement with Liechtenstein.
In recent years, no fewer than 20 countries have concluded Tax Information Exchange Agreements with Liechtenstein in an effort to keep tabs on their citizens' tax avoidance. The United States, the U.K., Australia, France and Germany have all signed agreements. Even countries such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Andorra and the Faroe Islands — a self-governing territory of Denmark consisting of 18 islands in the North Atlantic Sea, with a population of 50,000 — have signed tax information exchange agreements with Liechtenstein. Absent from this list, however, is Canada, despite having entered into negotiations with Liechtenstein two years ago.
The recent scandal involving Canadians with secret bank accounts in banks in Liechtenstein - and the fact that, to date, your department has not charged any of the Canadians holding those accounts with tax evasion - only serves to highlight the importance of concluding an effective and fair TIEA with this country. Given the respective size of our governments, one can rightly wonder how it is that Andorra can sign such an agreement, when the Canadian effort appears to be stalled.
I therefore ask you to demonstrate leadership in determining the cause of this delay, and in urging Canadian negotiators to conclude an effective Agreement with Liechtenstein as soon as possible.
I await your response.
Percy E. Downe