Question in the House - Conservative failure to take action on tax havens

Murray Rankin Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the OECD revealed that many multinationals were using dubious strategies to pay less than 5% in tax.

Small businesses, on the other hand, have to pay tax of up to 30%.

Several OECD countries are taking this situation seriously and have conducted studies to determine how much money is being lost through tax evasion.

Why has the Minister of National Revenue not conducted any such studies?

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we do aggressively pursue all the information we receive. It is an issue we do take very seriously. That is why our government has increased the number of CRA experts on this file by roughly 40% since the last year of the Liberal government.

Since 2006, we have audited thousands of cases and identified more than $4.5 billion in unpaid tax through our efforts in aggressive international tax planning. This is compared to just $174 million in the final year of the Liberals

Murray Rankin Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are quick to brag, but they are letting billions more go uncollected while they stand and congratulate themselves.

As yesterday's report by the OECD makes clear, unethical tax avoidance by multinational businesses is a serious problem and it is getting worse. The U.K., the U.S. and Australia are all taking action. They have studied the issue. They have developed estimates of just how much money they are losing.

Why will the Conservatives not get serious and do the same?

 Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are very serious about this issue, and thanks to the efforts of this government Canada is now party to over 100 tax agreements, work that the OECD recently has praised. However, if the member opposite insists on comparisons, he should know that since 2006, Canada has obtained roughly twice the number of convictions for international tax evasion. We are tackling this problem.