Canada’s black money minister: We can’t do it alone

“The issue of tax evasion is something that is very real and we want to fix it. But it’s not an issue unique to one financial center, to one jurisdiction. It’s an issue affecting us all.”

“There has to be steps to get serious about this and we do want to crack down on this, but we can’t do it alone.”

“We are hoping to encourage greater cooperation with other countries and partners like Panama, as well as with civil society and community groups, because that’s how we will learn and solve this problem.”

On whether the issue has come to the top of the government’s agenda:

“I haven’t had a formal conversation about tax evasion with Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau yet, but we’ll definitely be having those conversations because this is a big issue for all Canadians.

“We want to encourage others to join in our effort. We can’t do it alone. And I think that we can work with other countries, foreign, domestic, including many different tax havens.”

On which other countries have been signing up to work with Canada on this effort:

“We are at an advanced stage with Panama, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. We’re continuing to get discussions with other countries like Germany, Austria, Australia, and others.”

On why the government has remained silent on this matter:

“The government will work with anyone as we move forward.”

On the government’s role in stopping illegal tax evaders from moving funds offshore:

“We need better enforcement of the laws and I think this is an issue that transcends the government and the enforcement agency, it goes well beyond that.

“I don’t think any government – the United States has been a laggard on this issue, Australia has been strong, it goes well beyond enforcement agencies. This is more of a broader public education issue to ensure people understand what they’re doing when they conduct their transactions.”

How his own actions as an accountant can help bring more transparency to the global tax debate:

“When it comes to financial planning that has nothing to do with my personal account. What I do every day of my career is execute legally sound banking strategies, which are contributing to the financial security of my family, to the financial strength of my clients, and also giving back to communities that I work with.”

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