When Stephen Harper declared in the House of Commons on Sept. 30, 2010, that tax evaders using Swiss banks would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, I felt cautiously optimistic. At last, I thought, Ottawa will be able to recover the billions of dollars in tax revenue that the ultra-rich have been getting away with, and that tax evaders would be punished for their crimes.
However, Canadian law provides that law breakers cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves. So if you are an ultra-rich Canadian who chooses to use tax havens to evade paying your fair share of taxes, you apparently can’t be compelled to reveal any information that may land you in jail.
According to an April 5, 2012, CBC news story, lawyers acting for one of the wealthy Canadians named in a list provided by Herve Falciani, (a former employee of the secretive HSBC Swiss bank who turned whistle blower,) have filed an injunction against the Canada Revenue Agency. The injunction is to prevent the CRA from using the data, which the wealthy Canadian claims is stolen, to secure information about Canadians using tax havens.
In our topsy-turvy justice system, it appears that a high-priced lawyer can convince a judge that instead of the dog biting a man, it was the man that bit the dog!