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Taxpayers DO have the right to remain silent

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A taxpayer-friendly unanimous Federal Court of Appeal ruling came out this week in MNR v Cameco [2019 FCA 67]. At issue was whether or not the Minister (through the CRA) has the authority to compel oral answers to oral questions from taxpayers or their employees.

In his ruling, Justice of Appeal Rennie stated “…the Minister does not have the power to compel a taxpayer to answer questions at the audit stage…”, however, it may be in the best interest of the taxpayer to provide reasonable answers to reasonable questions in order to expedite the process. The full entire ruling can be found and read here

This ruling simply re-confirms, that even in an audit, you (and your staff) have the right to remain silent, and that the Minister’s powers are limited to physical evidence.

An exception to this is you are required to provide assistance in locating and providing that physical evidence, which may need to be orally.

Personally, when dealing with a very large number of taxpayers on our own office, we want to be certain that the file that the CRA is talking about is the same file in front of us. As such, we are a firm believer in the Canadian Home Builders’ Association motto that is ironically supported by the Government of Canada: “Get it in Writing.”

I am not advocating answering no questions, as the Minister (CRA) still has the ability to issue reassessments, thereby shifting burden of proof to the taxpayer further to disprove the reassessment.

I am, however, advocating at a minimum to get those questions detailed, and in writing. This will help to provide clarity and allow for proper thought in your answers as opposed to stating something with unintended consequences.

Here is a little example of what happens when you don’t get it in writing: in my dark-side days as a field auditor with the (then called) CCRA, we used to ask prying questions that the taxpayer had no idea they were answering.

For example, in one particular circumstance I was reviewing a file where it was suggested that the taxpayer was doing under-the-table cash jobs. This meant I would have to be creative in figuring out the taxpayer’s cost of living, and ruling out other sources of income.

Meeting in a quiet restaurant in a small Saskatchewan town, I was eventually able to have the taxpayer relaxed enough to think that we were having a normal conversation. Just a couple of ‘Riders fans that aren’t a fan of Ottawa, but hey, I have a job to do. When the taxpayer started complaining about the government, I joined in:

“Hey, I hear you. I’m not some suit from Ottawa. I’m from Regina. I mean both the feds and the province already get enough out of me from tax on my smokes.”

I don’t smoke.

The taxpayer didn’t know that, but the anger was timely because the province had just raised up the cigarette tax the previous year so packs were well over $6 a pack.

“Yeah I know”, the taxpayer said, “I smoke a pack a day”.

Music to my ears as a tax auditor, the taxpayer just told me that they need ($6 x 365) = $2,190 of after-tax income just to feed their cigarette habit.

I continued, “That’s terrible! Between getting our money on that, and getting it at the casino, it’s just crazy how much they make it hard to enjoy our weekends.”

“Yeah, I don’t win nuthin’ at the casino either,” the taxpayer stated.

To me I heard ‘I didn’t have any non-taxable casino winnings. In fact, the taxpayer likely had lost money in the year. This means the taxpayer needed to have more disposable income to gamble.’

The conversation continued for a good 30 minutes. Once I was armed with more knowledge of the taxpayer’s lifestyle and spending habits, I went to work. Bank statements, receipts, mileage information, fuel costs, type of vehicle, etc.

We would use information tools not only from Statistics Canada for price of fuel in different regions, we would also use websites like www.fueleconomy.gov that provide different estimated fuel consumption based on type of use and mileage going back to cars from the 1980s. Then we work backwards to see if the numbers made sense with respect to the taxpayer’s vehicle and costs.

When it was all said and done, I used the results of our conversation against the taxpayer. When I was finished, I found over $30,000 in an income variance between the taxpayer’s living costs and change in net worth compared to what was reported. Not only that, but the taxpayer had already backed themselves into a corner because of the questions that were answered which I had documented.

My guess is that in conclusion, the taxpayer thought they should have got the questions in writing instead of meeting me at a restaurant.


Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr is the President & Founder of CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors; you can find out more about Cory’s biography at http://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html

CEO | Director, Canadian Tax Advisory CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors With the Income Tax Act always by his side on his smart-phone, Cory has taken tax-nerd to a whole other level. His background in strategic planning, tax-efficient corporate reorganizations, business management, and financial planning bring a well-rounded approach to assist private corporations and their owners increase their wealth through the strategies that work best for them. An entrepreneur himself, Cory started CGL with the idea that he wanted to help clients adapt to the ever-changing tax and economic environment and increase their wealth through optimizing the use of tax legislation coupled with strategic business planning and financial analysis. His relaxed blue-collar approach in a traditionally white-collar industry can raise a few eyebrows, but in his own words: “People don’t pay me for my looks. My modeling career ended at birth.” More info: https://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html

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Justice

Conservative leadership candidate argues Tamara Lich a political prisoner

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Article submitted by Leslyn Lewis

A political prisoner is defined as “a person imprisoned for their political beliefs and actions.”

This definition begs the question of whether Trucker Convoy organizer Tamara Lich is a political prisoner.

In a previous letter, I outlined the fact that the first judge who detained Tamara was a former Liberal candidate, and the crown attorney who prosecuted Tamara had donated over $17,000 to the Liberal Party since 2013.

The fact that that we have to ask if Canada has political prisoners, speaks to the state of our declining democracy. But there seems to be no depth that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals will not sink to in order to control our thoughts, actions and even our democratic institutions.

We never imagined our government would invoke the Emergencies Act without exhausting existing options and without a request from law enforcement – but that happened.

We also never conceived that Canadians could be targeted for their political views, their property confiscated and their bank accounts frozen out of a political vendetta – but that too occurred in our democracy.

These events have sent tremors into the hearts of Canadians, some of whom have picked up and left this country out of fear that we are descending into a full-blown dictatorship. Some patriots I’ve met have even been put on a terrorist watch list just for attending the Freedom Convoy protest.

Tamara was recently released from jail after being arrested for allegedly breaching her bail conditions at a civil liberties awards gala event. Tamara, who is a 49-year-old Métis grandmother with no criminal record, spent 49 days in jail awaiting trial for charges stemming from her role as a Freedom Convoy organizer.

The Crown argued that she was a danger to the public and would likely reoffend, despite the fact that all of her charges were non-violent in nature.

In this extraordinary case, Tamara appeared before the court 5 times relating to bail conditions – [see the table summary of her case at the bottom of this email].

A Political Prisoner? Summary of the Evidence

Here are the facts leading up to Tamara’s latest arrest and bail hearings:

  • Tamara’s original bail conditions prohibited her from communicating with any convoy organizers EXCEPT in the presence of her lawyer or through her lawyer.
  • The alleged bail breach happened at a civil liberties awards gala where Tamara was receiving an award on June 16th, 2022; she was seen interacting with fellow convoy leader, Tom Marazzo. There were pictures and a video that showed her sitting at the same table as Mr. Marazzo and giving her acceptance speech. Upon returning to the table, she passes by Mr. Marazzo, touches his back and whispers something in his ear. The entire interaction lasted no more than 3 seconds. No breaches were related to the content of her speech.
  • An Ontario warrant for her arrest was issued on June 22nd. In an unorthodox move, on June 24th the Ottawa Crown Attorney extended the warrant to Canada-wide status so Tamara could be arrested in Alberta. However, still without a valid warrant that could be executed in Alberta, Tamara was still arrested by police in Medicine Hat on June 27th. The following day, the Crown in Alberta obtained a remand “to enable police in Ontario to get the warrant endorsed for arrest in Alberta. Two investigators in the homicide unit with the Ottawa Police Service, travelled to Alberta to execute the warrant once it had been endorsed for execution in Alberta” and they returned Tamara to Ontario.

In his ruling, Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman found the Justice of the Peace who had previously denied Tamara bail had “overstated” the impact of the contact made between Tamara and Marazzo at the gala.  Justice Goodman rejected the Justices of the Peace’s conclusion that “vulnerable victims of the February freedom trucker convoy protest” would continue to live in fear of a “re-occurrence of the protests…”.

Justice Goodman took issue with the Justice of the Peace’s reliance upon an irrational fear. He stated:

“It is not reasonable to draw the inference that an interaction of less than three seconds  in public at an awards ceremony as well as a group photograph and related, albeit brief  contact giving rise to the potential for a breach of terms would reasonably cause such  fear.”

Justice Goodman emphasized the presumption of innocence that is entrenched in our Charter and noted that it is important not confuse bail with being on trial: “…whether or not the applicant participated in any criminal conduct will ultimately fall to be decided by a trial court.”

Justice Goodman scolded the Justice of the Peace, he state that:

“I find that the Justice of the Peace’s reasons suffer from erroneous conclusions of the  relevant legal issues and he misapprehended the evidence when addressing the  secondary and tertiary ground concerns. As the Justice of the Peace’s decision is  clearly inappropriate, the detention order must be set aside.”

He also dismissed the concern that Tamara was a danger to the public – and noted that she abided by strict bail terms for 4 months, and she sought permission before attending the gala.

Justice Goodman echoed a previous bail decision by Justice Phillips stating:

The bail process is not the forum to address the myriad of opinion or issues arising from Ms. Lich’s or the Freedom Convoy’s disruption of the public peace or behaviour or  to advance a political or social position one way or the other. I also agree with Phillips J.  that no court would ever seek to control the possession or manifestation of political  views.” (emphasis added)

The issue of public fear was raised in every bail hearing and also by the Justice of the Peace that oversaw the warrant. Justice Goodman reminds us of the importance of balancing fears with the presumption of innocence and upholding the Charter:

“In my opinion, a reasonable member of the community, informed of the principles of  fundamental justice and Charter values and who appreciates the presumption of innocence and the constitutional right to reasonable bail would not view Ms. Lich’s release with great shock and indignation.”

The Verdict

So, the answer is yes. Tamara does meet the definition of a political prisoner – she was imprisoned for her political beliefs and actions. In fact, two agents of the court had Liberal ties and did not recuse themselves from Tamara’s case. In addition, she was arrested in Alberta before a valid warrant in Alberta was issued. And, the grounds cited by the Justice of the Peace in denying her bail were clearly flawed.

Finally, two judges – Justice Phillips and Justice Goodman – made reference to the fact that people cannot be jailed because of their political beliefs. This was a clear sign that the Liberal political vendetta had infested our legal system, and it took two judges to call it out and bring balance back to the justice system and remind us all that “no court would ever seek to control the possession or manifestation of political views“.

Sadly, over the past two years under COVID-19, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have created an environment that has undermined our institutions for political gains. Under the guise of protecting people’s health and safety, we have seen the erosion of our constitutional rights, and seen our justice system, law enforcement, health system and media weaponized to silence political opponents.

This environment normalized charging and disciplining doctors with dissenting opinions, charging pastors who held outdoor drive-in services for their church members, freezing bank accounts and confiscating property of protesters, publicly shaming and disclosing the addresses of people who donated to a democratic movement, and numerous other public character assassinations. This Liberal government even barred duly elected Members of Parliament from taking their seat in the House of Commons in the name of public health even though they knew that the vaccine did not prevent transmission of covid.

These dictatorial acts have dangerously eroded the foundations of our democracy and the rule of law. The Liberals penchant for weaponizing institutions to silence their political opponents is undermining the very pillars that should be holding society together.

Tamara Lich is just one example of what happens when government uses its power to control Canadians, to inflame hate and division and to infest independent institutions with political operatives.

The only solution to cure the fragility of our democracy is to have citizens of all political stripes acknowledge the dangerous course that we are on, and to have courageous leaders involve checks and balances that will compel institutional actors to publicly declare conflicts as well as amend the Emergencies Act to require a minimum of 2/3 of parliament to invoke it.

I am ready to do this. Are you with me?

Sincerely,

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Force Play: The Vaccines And The Damage Done

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Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent.  https://share.hsforms.com/16edbhhC3TTKg6jAaRyP7rActsj5 

Warning: This article could contain Covid-19 heresy. Readers are asked to take precautions. The Whit Merrifield crisis is over. The Toronto Blue Jays latest infield acquisition from Kansas City got a COVID-19 vaccine and can now play in his new team’s home games. Provided he doesn’t get COVID-19 all the same. Or have a freak heart problem. But we digress.

Canada has not allowed dozens of unvaccinated MLB players to play against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre— including Merrifield when the Royals visited in July. (Similar bans affected unvaxed NBA and NHL players entering Canada.) But Merrifield wanted to play in the MLB postseason, so he relented to Trudeau’s pressure and took the shot.

Merrifield’s stubbornness mirrors how pig-headed Canada has been in employing its standard— vaccines uber alles— that clearly has little remaining basis in The Science®, if it ever did. Newly released documents obtained by former NY Times reporter Bari Weiss show that “in the days leading up to the implementation of the (Canadian) travel mandate, transportation officials were frantically looking for a rationale for it. They came up short.”

Further, “no one in the ‘COVID Recovery unit’, which was responsible for enacting the policy, had any training in epidemiology or public health… instead, the director-general has a degree in literature.” The real decision, said a member of the unit, came from above. “A senior official in the prime minister’s Cabinet or possibly the prime minister himself had ordered COVID Recovery to impose the travel mandate… I’m not at liberty to disclose anything that is subject to cabinet confidence.” 

It’s the same in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration documents newly obtained show the agency knew almost nothing about how well mRNA boosters might work when it okayed them. Or why travel lockdowns work. As we reported here in “Revise, Hide, Resubmit” White House Task Force member Deborah Birx simply lied to the the president about having evidence to prolong lockdowns. “We had to make these (moves) palatable to the administration by avoiding the obvious appearance of a full Italian lockdown… We were playing a game of chess in which the success of each move was predicated on the one before it.”

Dilbert cartoonist/ social media star Scott Adams sums up the confusion of ordinary folks.”Regarding vaccinations, people I don’t trust say they have access to data I am not allowed to see, and because of that I should be concerned about the risks.”

Not that it mattered in Whit Merrifield’s case. It could have been 2020 as far as Health Canada is concerned. Even as we learn that multiple vaccinations do not prevent re-infection (POTUS Joe Biden is five shots in and sick again) or that the scientific evidence for vaccine efficacy was always missing, Justin Trudeau still stands like a Stalinist wall against revising earlier bans on the un-vaxxed.

What are the odds he’ll revisit his Convoy-inducing policies? He only just relented on allowing Canadians to fly domestically without a vaccine. The PM himself goes maskless in Costa Rica, begging the question why he adheres to a liberal standard on holiday while the plebs— and baseball players— back home must obey his diktats on Covid prevention.

The Science®, people!! No jab, no journey to Canada’s Blunderland. And No Talking!!

Maybe not. The vaccines have short-term benefits of six or eight weeks. After that Health Canada and the CDC claim they lessen the impact of the virus— but millions still get sick or die. That’s nothing like the powers Health Canada and Trudeau attributed to them when rushing them into the market.  Increasing evidence shows that the vax cures for Covid-19 and its variants might be worse than the virus. Millions getting the virus a second, third or fifth time belies those assurances. Or the threats of expulsion that accompanied them.

Estimates now suggest as many as 40,000 certified deaths worldwide may have resulted from “vaccine injuries”.  Meanwhile, five surveys of the American public, totalling over 2,500 people, show that while 4.4 percent of respondents reported that someone in their household had died from COVID-19; 8.9 percent said someone had died as a result of Covid vaccination.

What’s going on here? Researcher/ author Alex Berenson notes that funeral giant Service Corporation is showing excess deaths persisting into year three of the pandemic. But not from Covid-19. “Smoking and obesity take decades to kill, and drinking usually takes a decade or more,” says Berenson, who was banned from Twitter for Wrong Think. “Overdoses are way up and traffic accidents are higher too, but not nearly enough to account for the overall rise in deaths.

“Gee, I wonder what could be leading to all the excess non-Covid deaths we’ve suddenly seen in the last 12 months, not just in the United States but all over Western Europe and Australia too? Something definitely changed near the end of 2020, I just wish I could remember what…”

Lincoln National Insurance has reported a 63 percent increase in the rate of death claims for their customers. “The only new thing that’s happened in 2021,” says Baylor University cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough, “is the Covid vaccine.” The one that Trudeau insists you get or lose your job or liberty to travel.

Berenson notes another head scratcher. “The poor countries that avoided the mRNA shots have largely put Covid behind them, while wealthy countries navigate their fifth or sixth or seventh waves. (India: lots of people, no mRNA vaccines, no boosters, no second boosters, no super-special Omicron boosters, not so much Covid!)”

The previous antidote for believers in The Science® was banning or censoring this research. “California’s Medical Board, has been extorting MDs not to speak out against actual COVID misinformation by labeling what we say as misinformation and threatening licenses to practice,” says Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. “Docs just sued the medical board. Read the suit. Brilliant!”

The establishment in the person of globe-trotting/ no-masking Trudeau is making a bet on many levels that it can bluff through its agenda. It is testing social will. The results may prove bracing to those like Trudeau who presume authority for themselves as a right of his class.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft YearsIn NHL History, , his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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