CANADA MUST LEAD G8 PROGRESS ON TAX HAVENS AND TRANSPARENCY: NDP

OTTAWA – Today, New Democrats called on the Harper government to stop stalling G8 initiatives to tackle tax havens and promote transparency.

"The Conservatives have repeatedly undermined efforts to reach consensus for action on some of the most important issues facing the international community," said NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar. "Mr. Harper should stop being an obstacle to multilateral efforts and work with our G8 partners to improve tax compliance and promote transparency in the extractive industry."

Conservatives are reportedly resisting UK-led efforts on a number of measures to combat tax evasion. Those measures include identifying the true owners of offshore accounts and shell companies by disclosing so-called "beneficial ownership information."

The G8 will also consider establishing a common reporting standard for resource-extracting companies in order to increase transparency, discourage corruption and foster investment.

"Lost tax revenues far exceed annual global aid spending, and the lack of transparency has allowed some companies to dodge billions in taxes in developing countries," said NDP International Development critic Hélène Laverdière. "The Conservatives should understand that ending these unfair and unaccountable practices is essential to fostering economic development."

"Instead of focusing on exposing tax havens and catching tax cheats, the Conservatives have slashed the Canada Revenue Agency's investigative resources and staff," said NDP National Revenue critic Murray Rankin. "Now they're also fighting G8 efforts to combat tax evasion. Instead of being a leader, they're becoming an international obstacle to tackling tax havens. Canadians deserve better."