Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Toby Sanger discusses how wealthy Canadians - especially in the financial sector - are making more and more use of offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share:
The latest Statistics Canada figures  show 24% of Canadian direct investment overseas in 2011 went to the top twelve tax havens, up from 10% in 1987.   In fact, tax havens of the Barbados, Cayman Islands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda were five of the top eight national destinations of total Canadian investment abroad, with the US, UK and Australia the only countries not considered tax havens in this group.

These totals would be even higher if they included figures for other tax havens such as Monaco, Liechtenstein and many others where the figures either aren’t available or weren’t made available for confidentiality reasons.  They also don’t include money going to tax havens associated with the UK and the US, such as Channel Islands, or through banks in those countries.

The finance and insurance sector now accounts for over 51% of Canada’s total direct investment overseas, more than double its share from 1987, more evidence that a large share of this money is going overseas to avoid taxes.   The Harper government has lauded Canada’s growing investment overseas, claiming it shows looser foreign investment rules (which allowed numerous takeovers of Canadian industry) have been beneficial, but the actual figures show the reality is quite different.  A large and growing share of this money isn’t going into real capital investments that could ultimately benefit people overseas or in Canada; it’s going into tax avoidance that benefits a wealthy few at the expense of the large majority in Canada and around the world.
 - Meanwhile, Art Eggleton is learning that the best way to make the case to help Canadians living in poverty is to advocate for greater equality at all levels of income.

- Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report on the Cons' response to polling data on the effect of Robocon. But it's most noteworthy that a shotgun approach may have shot the Cons' own case in the foot since so many of the Cons' attacks have been pre-refuted for the court's convenience:
In her 35-page affidavit, Corbin says Graves’ results cannot be relied on because the survey was conducted so long after the fact.

“It is implausible that consumers would remember not only getting a call a year after it occurred, but specific details of the call.”

Graves had said in his affidavit that he dealt with the possibility of “over-remembering” by comparing his results in the seven ridings with a control group of 1,500 people in other ridings.

Corbin suggests Graves didn’t make his raw data available for others to review. However, the poll results have been posted on since shortly after his affidavit was filed.
- And pogge offers up another election fraud roundup, with Con MP Peter Penashue apparently joining the list of Con MPs who manage to stand out in the cover-up department even by his party's pathetic standards.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt follows up on the idea of mandatory voting with an apt observation as to how it would change the complexion of election day:
In Australia, voting is mandatory. In Canada, it’s not. Muttart told me earlier this year that he was struck by how quiet things are there on election day — all the frenzied get-out-the-vote efforts by parties in Canada simply don’t exist in Australia.

Ask any Canadian political volunteer, of any stripe, about that big E-day push, known by the acronym GOTV. It can be a circus. And in the midst of that melee in the 2011 federal election, someone got the idea that the tools of GOTV, the databases and the phone contacts, could be used just as easily to keep voters away from the polls.

1 comment:

  1. The majority of the efforts of a local campaign is directed to identifying supporters and getting them to vote. One wonders what could be achieved is they didn't need to do that.