Thank you, Mr. Chair. With your permission, I would like to thank the witnesses who are now leaving us.
Thank you for coming.
Mr. Chair, thank you for setting time aside for us to discuss the motion that I gave notice of last Tuesday. It is very appropriate, given what is in the news these days. I am going to read it again, so that we are fully aware of what we will be deciding on today.
That, given ongoing media revelations that could implicate some Canadians in aggressive tax avoidance or tax evasion, the Committee invite Stephen Bronfman, Revenue Chair for the Liberal Party of Canada; and Leo Kolber, former Senator and former chief fundraiser for the Liberal Party of Canada, to appear before the Standing Committee on Finance before November 30, 2017, to answer questions relating to their offshore assets in jurisdictions that are considered to be tax havens.
The goal of this motion is quite simple. I quickly explained it on Tuesday when I submitted the notice of motion.
The intent is to enlighten the committee on the tax strategies that have been used by these two individuals. The goal is not to put them on trial here, or to determine whether it is legal or illegal, but rather to have the facts and the strategy explained to us.
Of course, all Canadians whose have seen that information were shocked to learn that some strategies, like the ones these two individuals have used, foreign trusts, allow them to hide some of their wealth and their assets and to make profits from those assets. The investments bear fruit and are invested in all kinds of places around the planet, while the assets generate income in foreign countries with tax rates that are practically nonexistent.
It would let us hear what they have to say in explaining the way in which, legally, in their view, they can move their assets abroad to generate income tax free. The ultimate goal is to find out about their strategy. That would then allow the committee to address the shortcomings in the Income Tax Act, as well as the fundamental problem: that these individuals can use strategies of this kind and avoid paying their fair share in our society.
The individuals benefit from our health care system. I do not know Mr. Bronfman or Mr. Kerber personally, but I would not be surprised to learn that they have been to hospitals in Canada at one time or another. They benefit from our health care system. As they are in Canada, they travel on our roads and highways and they use our infrastructures. But they pay little or no tax. So they get along fine by taking advantage of our society and of the services that our government provides.
Our governments are having difficulty providing quality services to Canadians because of a tax system that is quickly eroding. That does not come from me. A lot of work is being done internationally on the issue of the eroding tax base and the transference of profits to foreign countries. For the committee then, this is an opportunity to learn more about it. This study has no set end date, but I would like them to appear before November 30. However, the motion does not set a deadline. In my opinion, the deadline is when we find possible solutions that will put the situation right.
I feel that Canadians would be happy to see the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance tackle this situation, which is very much in the news. Above all, they would be happy to see the committee identify solutions that would put an end to these scandals, which pop up from time to time in Canadian news, and even international news.
So I hope I will get the support of my colleagues so that we can respond to a concern shared by Canadians, including the constituents of my colleagues. To do so, I hope that I can count on the support of all my friends around the table, so that solutions can be found.