Monday, August 01, 2016

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Thomas Walkom writes that with both major U.S. presidential candidates taking an understandably skeptical view of free-trade agreements in their current form, Canada shouldn't be planning on the past trade model continuing to spread.

- Ben Guarino discusses how climate change is leading to the spread of toxic algae in bodies of water around the globe. And Alison Moodie highlights the need for Canada's corporate sector to start contributing to reining in climate change (whether or not by choice), rather than exacerbating the problem.

- Marco Chown Oved reports that for all the tax avoidance acquiesced in by far too many countries, Canada is lagging far beyond even its international peers in prosecuting offshoring:
As worldwide pressure grows to fight offshore tax evasion, new statistics obtained by the Star show the Canadian government has convicted only 49 people and levied just $13.4 million in fines for what it calls offshore activity since 2010.

These numbers are far lower than in comparable countries and show the Canada Revenue Agency recovers only a tiny fraction of the estimated $6 to $7.8 billion in taxes Canada loses to offshore tax havens each year.
The Panama Papers leak has detailed how the use of shell companies in tax havens deprives public tax coffers of billions of dollars each year. While other governments have devoted significant resources to cracking down on bank secrecy and offshore tax schemes, Canada’s efforts appear to have paled in comparison.

Australia’s Project Wickenby has collected more than $600 million from cheats using tax havens since 2006. The U.K. has recouped more than £2 billion ($3.5 billion) from offshore tax evasion since 2010. 

In contrast, Canada has only handed out fines totalling $13.4 million since 2010 — less than half the $35.7 million in taxes the cheats were caught evading. 

“This doesn’t make any sense,” said tax lawyer Jonathan Garbutt. “The law states that the minimum fine for tax evasion must be 50 per cent of the amount of tax owing. And judges often fine 75 or 100 per cent.”
- Steven Chase reports that the Libs are actually loosening Canada's rules on selling arms to human rights abusers.

- Finally, Dan DiMaggio points out how workers at Detroit Chassis were able to organize in order to turn temporary employment into permanent jobs. And Valerie Strauss discusses how unionized work environments lead to better results in educating children.

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