CBC slams door on CRA over Panama Papers

CBC slams door on CRA over Panama Papers

CBC slams door on CRA over Panama Papers Earlier this week we revealed the Canada Revenue Minister’s plans to crackdown on offshore tax-dodgers (see article) – but now those plans may have hit a roadblock.

That’s because news organization CBC is refusing to hand over the data it has about the investors and offshore shell companies included in the Panama Papers.

Agency commissioner Andrew Treusch reportedly wrote to the president of CBC last week stating that the CRA wanted to begin work immediately and review the data. However, according to CBC the request has been rebuffed: much as it was when the CRA tried to get hold of other tax haven data back in 2013.

A spokesman for the news organization has stated that CBC does not reveal its sources and is “not about to start now as a result of this request.”

The Panama Papers were distributed to CBC and other news outlets earlier in the year with some of their details revealed this month. Now their contents are having massive implications on politicians, celebrities and more around the world.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is said to be posting a subset of the information on a database in May but, in his letter, Treusch stated that he did not wish to wait for the posting requesting it in a “timelier manner”. The letter also said “we are not asking you to reveal your sources”.

However, Marina Walker Guevara, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists's deputy director, stated in an interview that she believes the information should be public and transparent – and that means revealing it in a bare bones, searchable database rather than the documents.

Where do you stand on this issue? Should CBC have assisted the CRA? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
  • Kathleen Caught 2016-04-13 11:57:12 AM
    There are many who live their lives in poverty at the expense of those presently employed who are barely moving ahead. I find it repulsive to stand in any form of resistence to being in support of helping every single person and not just the elite. Open your doors CBC, the people supported you, now your turn to stand up for us. Transparency is the only way.
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  • Catherine Dewar 2016-04-13 12:27:28 PM
    Kathleen, I completely agree with your points on the issues of poverty, minimally employeed, and tax dodgers. The issue here is that once we lose this freedom of the press, it creates a precedence that we would never recover from.
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  • Mark Matsumoto 2016-04-13 12:39:03 PM
    I think that the news reporters should be able to protect their sources. It would make their jobs much more difficult in the future if the government could force them to "rat out" the people who give them information.

    It is not like our governments spend the money wisely. The Liberals put all of their spending "on the tab" anyways. They are maxing out the Visa card for the future generations to pay.

    Look at the Ontario Liberals who wasted over a billion of our dollars just buying a few more votes by moving a power plant far away from the place where power was needed. We now have the highest electricity costs in North America because of our government. This is costing us more than the taxes being evaded.

    I'm not sure what the Federal Liberals have been doing, but I expect that we'd find much the same without much effort.

    I would be in favour of having a "level playing field". If news agencies are forced to open their books and reveal their sources, then the government should be forced to open their books to show us the details on their spending and have mechanisms to hold the politicians accountable. I expect that the amount of horrible spending decisions far outweighs the amount of taxes avoided/evaded.

    I guess this just means that I support the head of the CBC and don't want to further extend the powers of the CRA.
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