Madam Speaker, the numbers are mind-boggling.
The OECD estimates that $6 trillion is held in OPEC jurisdictions around the world. The Tax Justice Network in Great Britain calculates it at closer to $10 trillion. Canada is losing tens of billions of dollars as a result of people hiding their money offshore.
I am happy to announce that my colleague from the Bloc, the member for Hochelaga, made a proposition in the finance committee that we should start hearing from people like Donald J. Johnston, the former head of the OECD. The Conservatives added that they wanted to hear from the OECD itself.
Always ready with a helpful suggestion, we had it adopted that we bring in Michael Wilson, a former Conservative finance minister. Michael Wilson is an interesting name to see. Everyone is talking about the HSBC scandal right now. But in the UBS scandal, which was when people started to realize how widespread all this was, there was an allegation that there was an identical practice going on here in Canada with UBS. Who was the spokesman for UBS in Canada? Michael Wilson.
We are going to have the pleasure of speaking with MIchael Wilson in the finance committee. We want to make sure that when Canadians are looking at a $60-billion deficit everything has been done to collect taxes owing. When we make the simple algorithmic calculation of how many people it takes to do the collecting and how much it brings in, it is disturbing to see that the Conservatives are firing 200 tax collectors who could have been bringing in that money and working on it.
The only country in the OECD to have worked backwards in having people take money out of the country into OPEC jurisdictions is Canada. Which government did that? The Conservative government. Two budgets ago, it actually made it easier for Canadian companies to take money out of the country and leave it in tax-free jurisdictions, the better to bring it back.
When we look at what was done with the income trusts of Canada's richest families, allowing them to take it all offshore and bring it back untaxed, we realize that for too many years what gets decided in this House in respect of taxation has been heavily skewed in favour of the richest. And it always falls on the backs of average Canadians.
Only a few bucks a year can actually be saved with a TFSA. The fact that the government is closing a so-called loophole there shows that once again that, whenever it has to do with the average Canadian, the government is more than willing to act immediately. I am not saying the loophole did not have to be closed, by the way. It is appropriate to do it, because it was aggressive tax planning. It was slipshod public administration. They had made bad calculations, and they did not realize that it was actually going to be cheaper to pay the penalty and over-subscribe.
The government's priority, as usual, is to take care of the richest in our society and let the average Joe pay the price.