The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Justin Ling

Offshore tax

Paradise Papers: Tackling creative compliance

By Justin Ling November 6, 2017 6 November 2017

Paradise Papers: Tackling creative compliance

 

It’s been more than a year since a consortium of news outlets worldwide released details on an international network of tax havens and shelters, some employed by the rich and powerful to avoid domestic taxes, known as the Panama Papers dump.

The leaks led to resignations in Iceland, Malta, Spain, and rocked governments the world over. Canada, however, was relatively spared.

But Trudeau’s inner circle was implicated in murky tax avoidance this week, after the Toronto Star and CBC/Radio-Canada published details from the Paradise Papers, more leaks from the world of tax shelters and aggressive tax avoidance.

What do the documents say? The Star reported Sunday that Stephen Bronfman and Leo Kolber, two prominent Liberal fundraisers and allies of the Trudeau family, held a Cayman Islands trust to hold revenue from the Bronfman family’s Israeli investments.

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Trade

Is the TPP coming back from the dead?

By Justin Ling October 24, 2017 24 October 2017

Is the TPP coming back from the dead?

 

When we last checked in with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it was a deal wounded but not dead.

After the United States withdrew from the controversial agreement, trade watchers anticipated the remaining 11 signatories would simply let the deal fall away. It was assumed that substantial changes to the text would be required, and even re-ratification for the two signatories (Japan and New Zealand) who have already given their formal consent to the deal.

And yet, the deal limped on. New rounds of negotiations were held. Governments have voiced voice tepid optimism that a deal could still be reached with those remaining.

Where are we at now? Just as things appeared to look up for the beleaguered deal, it faced new hurdles. While TPP-boosting Shinzo Abe (pictured above) easily won re-election in Japan this past weekend, his New Zealand counterpart was unceremoniously dumped after failing to secure a majority in September’s elections. New Zealand First, a populist party, threw its support behind the country’s Labour Party and now sits as a junior coalition member in an avowedly trade-skeptic government, which also includes the Green Party.

New Zealand First reports in its official policy book that they intend to “oppose investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in bilateral and multilateral agreements and by extension the Trans Pacific Partnership-11, which offers little for our exporters.

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Criminal justice

Are Corrections Canada's psychological tests for Indigenous inmates reliable?

By Justin Ling October 13, 2017 13 October 2017

Are Corrections Canada's psychological tests for Indigenous inmates reliable?

 

The Supreme Court has reserved judgement in a case that could hold huge ramifications for Indigenous prisoners.

The top court heard arguments yesterday from Jeffrey Ewert, a Metis man who sued the Correctional Services of Canada, arguing that the psychological tests applied to would-be inmates discriminated against Indigenous prisoners.

Ewert won his case at trial, but lost on appeal. At the top court, a slew of interveners — including the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Native Women's Association of Canada, Criminal Lawyers' Association of Ontario — have joined the fight.

What’s wrong with the tests? CSC uses these psychological tests to help determine “the management of the risk of criminal behaviour by the offender.” There are five tests employed by the criminal justice system in Canada, although none are actually mandatory. They attempt to measure the offender’s psychological well-being, their risk of violence, and their risk for sexual violence. While the Crown contends that these tests are merely data points that allow psychologists to make decisions regarding parole, the availability of supervised and scheduled releases, and what level of security the inmates require.

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Trade

Bombardier trade dispute: "We appear to be entering a new phase"

By Justin Ling September 28, 2017 28 September 2017

Bombardier trade dispute: "We appear to be entering a new phase"

 

In the most recent trade spat in the era of “America First” the U.S. Department of Commerce has slapped a 219 percent anti-subsidy duty on Bombardier's C Series aircraft, to punish what it views as illegal states subsidies from Canadian and U.K. governments.

“It’s an astounding number,” says Riyaz Dattu, a partner specializing on international trade with Osler.

The decision, spurred by a complaint from Boeing, has already rocked the already-beleaguered Quebec aerospace company, as their shares have tumbled over the past day.

As Dattu points out, it was expected that the U.S. Department of Commerce would find “some level of subsidization.” But the figure announced by Washington on Wednesday is staggering, even though it may yet be revised down and, eventually, set aside by a NAFTA panel.

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Criminal law

Confidential informants: Widening the circle of privilege

By Justin Ling September 22, 2017 22 September 2017

Confidential informants: Widening the circle of privilege

 

Are confidential informants outing themselves to evade prosecution? If so, how should the courts step in to strip them of that privilege? Even if they haven’t, how do you prosecute an informant once they’ve identified themselves as such? 

That was the question before the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta earlier this month. 

Here’s the scenario: Police charge a suspect. During the first interview, the suspect reveals information that could later be used at trial. But, during that first interrogation, the suspect also reveals he’s a confidential informant, a fact until then unknown to the arresting officers. 

“The Crown faces a conundrum,” writes Justice J.A. Antonio assigned to the perplexing case. “If it includes the interview, redacted or unredacted, in the disclosure package for the criminal trial, it will effectively be informing defence counsel that Named Person A is a confidential informant.” 

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