They say once you put something on the internet, it’s there forever and Finance Canada is certainly feeling the full force of that sentiment after a recent online error has led to accusations from the opposition of possible insider trading and unfair advantages.
The department disclosed details of imminent tax measures in a draft news release which was mistakenly published on their website late last week. NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen was one of the first to react and said: “The leak and availability of this information, prior to it being made public, gave those with this information an opportunity for personal financial gain.” Cullen added that this could obviously lead to “insider trading and market distortions.”
As a result of the error, Finance Minister Joe Oliver was forced to hastily table the motion earlier than planned in order to give all Canadians full and fair access to the information. Oliver also released a statement reassuring the nation - "Action was taken to take [the release] down within 10 minutes. I take this situation very seriously and have instructed the department to review its procedures to ensure it does not happen again."
Oliver played down the incident and said most measures were aimed at implementing tax changes already announced in last February’s federal budget but the motion does contain a series of income and sales tax measures there weren’t present in the budget, including doubling the children’s fitness tax credit to $1,000.
What do you think? Was there an opportunity for unfair gain as a result of Finance Canada’s unfortunate slip-up?