Bill Morneau Discovers an Elite, Tax-Dodging Loophole Exploiter: Himself
Take a minute to consider this: Canada’s finance minister is engaged in an effort to sell a controversial new tax change. His pitch is that the change is aimed at rich people who have been taking unfair advantage of existing rules to minimize their taxes.
He accuses a “privileged few” of using “fancy accounting schemes” to produce “inappropriate” tax savings. His goal is to enforce “tax fairness” by making them pay more.
In the midst of his effort it becomes known that the minister, a very wealthy man, hasn’t separated himself from his wealth, as expected under established procedures. He hasn’t sold off his assets, or placed them in a blind trust that removes them from his control. It’s a basic safety measure, put in place to ensure the person in charge of the country’s finances can’t take unfair advantage of his position to benefit personally from his official actions.
The minister, Bill Morneau, says Canada’s ethics commissioner told him he didn’t have to put his holdings in a blind trust. Instead, CTV News reported on Tuesday that Morneau put tens of millions of dollars of stock into two holding companies, which he controls. This means he legally does not “directly” control the shares, the companies do. Morneau insists this is entirely on the up and up and says he worked with the ethics commissioner “to ensure that all my affairs were arranged appropriately and comply with the spirit and letter of the rules.”