Green Party calls for inquiry into the alleged tax leakage of income trusts

    OTTAWA, Dec. 10 /CNW/ - The Green Party of Canada is calling on Prime
Minister Stephen Harper to launch a public inquiry into Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty's unproven allegation that income trusts result in a loss of tax
revenue to Ottawa.
    To date, no evidence has been provided by the Department of Finance to
support the pivotal policy assumption that income trusts result in a loss of
tax revenue. The only evidence provided by the government has been 18 pages of
blacked out documents obtained by Access to Information. In a highly unusual
move, the Department of Finance subsequently asked that these documents be
    "The Harper government's actions do not demonstrate the accountability or
transparency necessary for the proper functioning of a modern democracy," said
Green Party leader Elizabeth May. "As the Auditor General has said,
'Parliamentarians need objective fact based information on how well the
Government raises its funds'."
    A report issued today by accounting firm Deloitte indicates that the
flurry of income trust buyouts that have occurred since the decision to tax
income trusts, many by foreigners such as Abu Dhabi Energy and Cheung Kong
Infrastructure Holdings, has actually resulted in a loss of taxes.
    According to Deloitte, "Buyers in the 40 announced deals were equally
split between strategic and private equity, as well as between domestic and
foreign. But in terms of tax revenue for the Canadian government, the news was
not so balanced: 70% of purchasers are tax exempt pension/private equity funds
or foreign buyers who pay little if any tax in this country."
    Green Party Finance critic Peter Graham said that the income trust tax
announced on Halloween of 2006 has resulted in a loss to the value of the
hard-earned savings of Canadians of $35 billion.
    "These Canadians have also lost significant retirement income," said
Mr. Graham. "As Mr. Harper stated himself in an op-ed in National Post on
October 26, 2005, 'Seniors are actually enraged, frightened and panicked about
potentially losing retirement savings that they count on for the essentials of
daily living'."

    For more information, see the Deloitte report: Income trust buyouts: Lots
of activity, little tax revenue,1002,sid=3634=177044,00.html?WT.mc_

For further information:

For further information: Camille Labchuk, Press Secretary, (613)
562-4916 ext. 244,; Peter Graham, Finance Critic, (514)

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