To Canada’s Members of Parliament

September 10, 2012

We first wish you well with any summer vacation each of you is able to have this year.  We know you work hard, with long hours and many demands on your time.  That said, we remind of the truth that there is no vacation from poverty and that millions of people in Canada – many of them children and youth who more than anyone benefit from “time at the lake” – weather the summer without benefit of being able to take a holiday. 

On July 21st, Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders wrote that “Canadian companies have piled up more than $525 billion in cash reserves – almost a third the size of the entire economy – up from little more than $150-billion a decade earlier…at least 45 per cent of Canada’s biggest companies are hoarding cash rather than investing in employment or capital.  None of it is going into research and development, expansion of market share, new offices and factories or, crucially, on employing people. Nor is it going into tax revenues, since cash reserves – and some of the earnings that contribute to them – escape the taxman, giving companies an incentive to not invest.”

Two days later, the Globe reported that around the world, up to $32 trillion is being stored by super rich individuals and their families in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues.  The CBC reported that “the amount of tax income lost ‘is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries’”.  The figure has been generated by the Tax Justice Network (TJN), “an independent organisation launched in the British Houses of Parliament in March 2003…to map, analyse and explain the role of taxation and the harmful impacts of tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax competition and tax havens.”  (The TJN says that “tax havens cause poverty.”) 

 See also Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente’s recent article on Canada’s growing “opportunity gap”, relating to our nation’s ever-growing gap in income and wealth inequality.

 1) Why are Canadian companies being allowed to build up “mountains of cash” (as Doug Saunders describes them) while so many Canadians (unemployed and otherwise) and their governments are wallowing in “canyons of debt”?                    

2) How much income tax payable in Canada is being lost to tax havens?                         

3) What is the public interest justification for tax havens?                                                      

4) If tax revenue lost to tax havens was instead collected and devoted to poverty prevention and alleviation, and to reducing income inequality, how could it be specifically allocated   to have the greatest impact on these ends?

Such questions are germane to the Standing Committee on Finance’s current study on income inequality in Canada and what can be done about it.  We look forward to the findings of the committee’s report, by its deadline of June 2013, and to contributing input to the study.                                                                                                                          

Street, 2nd Floor, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3;    (613) 789-0096 (1-800-810-1076)                     Rob Rainer Executive Director / Directeur executif


Working in alliance with the CWP Advocacy Network / Travaillant en alliance avec le Réseau de revendication CSP

 Honorary Directors / Directeurs honoraires

Right (Très) Hon. Joe Clark  Hon. Louise Arbour  Hon. Monique Bégin

Hon. Ed Broadbent Ovide Mercredi

 Ottawa office / Bureau d’Ottawa: @UnderOneRoof, 251 Bank

Vancouver office / Bureau de Vancouver:   (604) 628-0525

Help support our work! / Aidez-nous!

 Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world.  Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is.  By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime.  Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.

Hon. Louise Arbour, Honorary Director and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2006

 Human rights only become meaningful when they gain political content…they are rights that require active participation from those who hold them.

Lynn Hunt, human rights historian


2 Responses to “To Canada’s Members of Parliament”

  1. brad Says:

    leboy,leboy,leboy.first you must understand that these so called canadian companies, allegedly hoarding our currency in the isle of whatyamecallit is not the total story. you see these companies now a days are no more canadian then the back of canada – which is as american as the federal reserve or as british as the bank of england. just as these companies hoe ’em selves out to any power broker worldwide with an etrade account; so does the printers and issuers of any western money system. it is not so much that these companies are hoarding $$$ itself, they are grabbing up useless bits of paper that they pimp off for other scraps of paper that when taken to the everyman’s bank like td,bmo,rbc they will get another slip of paper that the big bank, an international bank with no purpose in canada other then to control resources and debt forces as legal tender. much as in soviet russia and nazi germany have no interest in creating a free and fare currency system or proper capitalism as that would force debt as we understand it to be canceled, assets/products and services to be traded at value and people to work for emselves. no interest is paid to the person who lost their job to china, or the steel cutter who would need to sign a long term loan for a car made with his hands – a contract with so much interest making sure he’d be working for life – even when pay, sick days, overtime, hours, and benifits to be cut — due to the fact those men NEVER work fast enough nor pass high QA checks 100% of the time to earn minium wage. TO PUT IT BLUNTLY the social-economic society is quickly crashing and the big companies know this fact. the only workers these days who can afford the products they offer are the kiddies at dollaramma! These compaines are just keeping a safety net when the s–t hits the fan. but don’t be fooled – just cuz they hoard assets worth money does not mean they are stupid enough to stash hundred dollars bills in their pillows at night.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hey your leeps and bounds ahead of me why hoard bags of bills when there worthless i will just keep tradeing them for goods and services and will trek on down the yellow brick road to emerald city and reload but thanks for the heads up leboy

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