Tax havens have created an unsustainable economic structure wherein the rich get richer, Dennis Howlett summarized.
âInequality is probably the single most important cause of our economic stagnation, because there is so much money in the hands of rich people they canât spend it,â he reasoned.
âInequality is bad for our economy âŠ and our government should be doing more with the tax system to redistribute wealth, but the current government is doing the opposite.â
The executive director of the Ottawa-based non-profit, non-partisan organization Canadians for Tax Fairness is scheduled to speak in Prince Albert on Wednesday as part of a Saskatchewan tour.
Concluding that Canadaâs tax policies are concentrating wealth, Howlett has narrowed his focus on Cameco for this weekâs tour of Saskatchewan -- a Saskatoon-based company whose influence on the provinceâs economy is significant.
Currently before the courts, Canada Revenue Agency is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from Cameco as a result of the corporationâs profit shifting through offshore tax havens.
âThey end up paying a lot less taxes than they should be paying in a country like Canada, where they extract uranium,â Howlett said.
âWe expect that theyâre not the only case,â Howlett said. âIn many, many cases, companies like this settle out of court. So, they pay something, but probably a lot lighter than they would otherwise âŠ Cameco decided to fight it in court, and as a result weâre learning a lot more about it.â
Cameco declined comment for the purposes of this article, with manager of media relations Rob Gereghty limiting comment to the fact heâs âconfident that we will be successful in our case.â
Inequality is bad for our economy âŠ and our government should be doing more with the tax system to redistribute wealth, but the current government is doing the opposite. Dennis Howlett
Camecoâs latest quarterly report addresses the Canada Revenue Agencyâs dispute.
Canada Revenue Agency has issued a reassessment for $5.7 billion, resulting in a tax expense of $1.6 billion, drawing from finances that date back to 2003.
âCameco has been so bold I donât think theyâll get away with it, even under the current laws,â Howlett said.
Although Howlett remains critical of the current governmentâs tax policies, he gives former finance minister Jim Flaherty credit for getting the ball rolling in tightening up certain tax havens.
In the same breath, Howlett criticizes the fedsâ recent income splitting model, wherein married couples with children under 18 can transfer up to $50,000 in taxable income from one spouse to another to take advantage of a lower personal tax rate.
Costing the federal government $2.4 billion a year in revenue, Howlett said that the program is primarily benefiting the top 10 per cent of Canadians.
âItâs not really fair and there are a lot better ways to support families and children than income splitting.â
Howlettâs presentation, titled âPay Up Cameco! Hundreds of millions owed to Canadians,â will take place at the Prince Albert Union Centre at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The event is being sponsored by the Council of Canadians, Prince Albert and District Labour Council, CUPE 4777 and Renewable Power the Intelligent Choice.