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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce

Issue 33 - Evidence - May 2, 2013


OTTAWA, Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, to which was referred Bill S-17, An Act to implement conventions, protocols, agreements and a supplementary convention concluded between Canada and Namibia, Serbia, Poland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes, met this day at 10:30 a.m. to give clause-by-clause consideration to the bill.

Senator Irving Gerstein (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Good morning and welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. Today the Senate committee is holding its fourth meeting as part of a study on Bill S-17, the Tax Conventions Implementation Bill, 2013.

The purpose of this enactment is to implement four recent tax treaties that Canada has concluded with Namibia, Serbia, Poland and Hong Kong. This enactment also implements amendments to provisions for the exchange of tax information found in the tax treaties that Canada has concluded with Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Honourable senators, as previously discussed, today we will be proceeding with clause-by-clause consideration, after which we will proceed in camera.

If I may, is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-17, An Act to implement conventions, protocols, agreements and a supplementary convention, concluded between Canada and Namibia, Serbia, Poland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland, for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the title stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 2 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 3?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 4?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 5?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 6?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 7?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 8?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 9?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clause 10?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clauses 11 to 13?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Clauses 14 and 15?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall Schedule 1 carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Schedule 2?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Schedules 3, 4, 5 and 6?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the bill carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Is it agreed that I report this bill to the Senate?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: The deputy chair —

Senator Massicotte: Has priority.

The Chair: — has priority.

Senator Massicotte: She has seniority in numbers of years on the committee and years in the absolute sense as well.

The Chair: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: We are talking about taxes. I think all of us were very impressed with the quality of the witnesses and also with the importance of these conventions. I hope that my colleagues agree that the chair and I will issue a press release after you have tabled this in the Senate and it is done, that we publicize the fact that this is being adopted. I feel that this is not something that goes too far, but in the economic sector, where Poland and Hong Kong and so on are being mentioned, for the business community, I think it is important the message goes out.

The Chair: I think that is an excellent idea. Very good idea. Draft it and we will sign off on it.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I think it is important.

The Chair: Excellent point. Thank you.

Senator Massicotte: I would also recommend that the committee write a letter to the Minister of Finance to basically encourage the tendency, if you wish, the momentum being created by the G8 and the G20 that we continually pursue treaties that allow more information sharing relative to tax avoidance and tax evasion, including wording that will allow us to pursue inquiries relative to the whitewashing of money. The current treaty basically specifically excludes that last category, and I think as the G7 and G20 seemed to indicate a couple weeks ago, we encourage the minister to pursue that openness of information.

The Chair: I have no trouble with that. Okay. Is there anything further to bring before the committee before we go in camera? No.

(The committee continued in camera.)