Question in the House – Cost of Tax Havens

Mr. Murray Rankin (Victoria, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP successfully pushed the finance committee to study tax havens. The UK, the U.S. and Australia all have published official estimates of how much these tax havens are costing them, but the Conservatives' position is to cover their eyes and pretend it is not happening.

    Could the Minister of National Revenue tell the House why she is not interested in finding out just how much tax revenue is going missing?

Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of National Revenue, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we are very interested in how much of this money goes missing and that is why we aggressively pursue all information we receive. We take this issue seriously. That is why our government has increased the number of CRA experts on this file by roughly 40% from the last year of the Liberal government.

    Since 2006, CRA has audited thousands of cases and identified more than $4.5 billion in unpaid taxes through our efforts on aggressive international tax planning. This compared to just $174 million the last year the Liberals were in office.

Mr. Murray Rankin (Victoria, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are quick to brag about money they have recovered but they do not know how much money has gone missing.

    C'est bien possible de calculer combien le gouvernement perd en revenu à cause des paradis fiscaux. D'autres pays l'ont fait.

     Donc pourquoi la ministre ne s'engage-t-elle pas dès aujourd'hui à trouver combien le gouvernement perd en revenu et à régler ce problème une fois pour toutes?

Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of National Revenue, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is a serious issue. Under this government we have taken a leadership role with our international partners.

    At finance committee when asked about the issue former Secretary General of the OECD and Liberal cabinet minister Donald Johnston had this to say, “The progress that has been made over the last five years in Canada has been remarkable”.