All posts tagged access to information

Birkenfeld believes there’s at least $1-billion in federal unpaid taxes in Canada

By Allan Cutler

For the past four years, I have been attempting to get Bradley Birkenfeld to come to Canada and assist the Canadian government by testifying and providing valuable documentation regarding the illegal off-shore industry. Birkenfeld believes that there is at least $1-billion in federal unpaid taxes in Canada.

Birkenfeld was an American banker working in Switzerland. As a whistleblower, he exposed the largest and longest running tax fraud by Americans using off-shore accounts. The unprecedented results were shocking and ultimately he received an award of $104-million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since more than $5-billion of unpaid taxes were recovered. In keeping with the fine traditions of the U.S.A., the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecuted him (and only him) for the exact revelations that had resulted in this award. The absolutely false argument made by the DOJ was that he withheld a client name from them. In any event, he received a criminal record and a 31-month jail term for the historic and courageous actions.

The story does not end there. Birkenfeld has been instrumental in the massive fraud investigation against the Swiss Banks and the further release of names of tax evaders by Swiss authorities. To this day, Birkenfeld continues to fight this corruption and has helped a number of foreign governments to recover what is rightly owed them.… Read the rest

Unidentified Remains: An Update

Bruce Ricketts

On this blog in April 2014 I discussed a case of a set of Unidentified Remains recovered by the Niagara Regional Police in 1998. In the entry I told of the unusual lengths that the Ontario Coroner and the Niagara Police were going to not release any information on the case. I specifically mentioned a pending DNA analysis which was to be done on the remains so we could compare this to a missing persons (MP) case. Well the fun continues on this case. Here is a bit of an update.

The family of the MP were told by police that the DNA profile had been done by the Coroner but when I met with the Coroner face to face (it took a complaint to the Ontario Ombudsman to get that meeting) I was told that the analysis had NOT been done. Why not? I asked. Apparently the Niagara Police could not find the evidence; including the bones. It was stated that the box in which the evidence was contained had been moved during a renovation sometime in the past 18 years and was only recently found and turned over to the Coroner. While the DNA profile had not be done at the time of the meeting, the Coroner was able to give tell me their description of the evidence and lo and behold, their description did not match that of the Niagara Police from back in 1998.… Read the rest

Yes, we can trust Ottawa again

Sean Bruyea

Holding government accountable has been granted a ray of hope. Democracy Watch may proceed with a private prosecution of Nigel Wright for the secretive payment of $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy. This initiative has much wider implications for ensuring greater accountability of Ottawa’s oversight agencies which have been rendered largely ineffective by design and/or management. The end result could be a federal government which actually becomes more transparent and accountable.

Duff Connacher of Democracy Watch accuses the RCMP of “covering up” any justification the federal agency may have in failing to prosecute Wright. The RCMP is one of the penultimate agencies of accountability and oversight in Canada. How do we as Canadians safeguard democracy and the rule of law if these watchdogs fail to do their job?

Politicians have exhausted our trust that they seek good governance in Ottawa. Meanwhile MPs have been complicit or apathetic to the increasing ineffectiveness of offices created ostensibly to ensure accountable and transparent government.

Politicians and their parties come and go but the bureaucracy is the eternal rock beneath the immature antics of Parliament. In spite of increasing autocratic tendencies in our current government, MPs appear unwilling or unable to make public servants accountable, let alone make government transparent.… Read the rest