OTTAWA – Tom Mulcair is calling on the Harper government to fire the chairman of the Royal Canadian Mint over his role in a tax avoidance scheme.
The NDP leader’s call follows the disclosure of court documents which suggest Jim Love counselled a wealthy family on the use of offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes in Canada.
Love, a Toronto tax lawyer, is a personal friend of and tax adviser to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. He was appointed to the Mint’s board in 2006 and elevated to board chairman in 2009.
CBC reports that Love was sued by the family of Arthur Meighen for orchestrating a scheme in which more than $8 million from the former prime minister’s trust fund was transferred through Bermuda, Barbados and Antigua before ending up back in Canada, tax-free.
The family alleged in court documents that the transactions were illegal and accused Love, a trustee of the Arthur Meighen Trust, of breaching his fiduciary duties.
The lawsuit was settled in 2011.
Although Love has never been charged with any offence, Mulcair says he should have been fired the moment the tax avoidance scheme came to light.
“He should have been gone long ago,” the NDP leader said Wednesday.
“What I make of it is that the Conservatives have no morality when it comes to making rich people pay their taxes.”
The Canada Revenue Agency would come down like a ton of bricks on a hairdresser or waiter who failed to declare $1,000 in tips, Mulcair added. But “if you’re rich and you’re well connected, in (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper’s Ottawa you get an appointment and nobody even questions that.”
In the House of Commons, Harper refused to comment on the allegation that Love engineered a tax avoidance scheme, saying that matter was “a dispute between two private parties before a court.”
However, he boasted that his government has cracked down on offshore tax cheats and tax evaders, identifying more than $4.5 billion in recoverable funds.