Sunday News Roundup 23.11.19: Carbon tax carveout, CEBA sympathy and more Canadian accounting news
Wrapping up the odds and ends from the past week in Canadian accounting news
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TORONTO, Nov. 19, 2023 – A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute released this past week found four out of 10 Canadians want the carbon tax eliminated altogether. Only 15 per cent of those polled believe the carbon price should continue as is. The Liberals are losing support on a key taxation issue that they have spent significant political capital defending.
People tend to forget that the Justin Trudeau Liberals were elected originally in part because Canadians wanted action on climate change. But in the intervening years, the Liberals have failed to meet their projected climate targets, and emissions have actually increased in the past year. Yes, emissions are lower today than in 2005, but far below the Canada’s climate reduction goals. The oil and gas industry is largely to blame.
Meanwhile, the Liberals shot themselves in the foot last month, when they paused the tax on home heating oil in Atlantic Canada. “The carveout was a strategic blunder that put wind in the sails of opponents raising affordability concerns,” University of Victoria associate professor James Rowe told Canada’s National Observer. “The government could have left the tax untouched while finding other ways of addressing affordability more universally across the country.”
And now, on to the rest of the news from the past week in Canadian accounting.
Sympathy for small business expressed by CEBA forgiveness petition
Back in 2021, we polled our readers on the federal government’s monetary support of both individuals and businesses, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results were enlightening. The vast majority of accountants felt the feds had been far too generous to individuals and too stingy with businesses. In other words, CPAs were completely at odds with the views of the general public.
Which is why a petition urging the feds to forgive pandemic loans to small businesses is hardly surprising. An Ottawa accountant, Moe Tabesh, started a petition that has more than 13,000 signatures, according to the CBC. Tabesh says many small businesses cannot afford to pay back the Canada Emergency Business Account loans given the high interest environment.
The loans were a “lifeline” at the time but the January deadline for repayment is fast approaching. Want to sign the petition? Visit Advocate for Forgiveness of CEBA Loans on Change.org. As of publication, the petition now has 15,725 signatures.
CBC covers CPA Alberta disciplinary hearing over alleged unauthorized payments
Most provincial discipline hearings come and go without much interest from the media, but the CBC is covering the case of Paul Sturt, a former chartered accountant and member of CPA Alberta. What makes the case unique is that the complaint was launched by Deloitte Canada.
According to the CBC, Mr. Sturt, who says he is not guilty of unprofessional conduct, was accused of “receiving more than $6.5 million in unauthorized payments from his employers.” The discipline order presents the payment amounts Mr. Sturt allegedly received while holding a variety of financial positions at various firms. The CBC reports that Mr. Sturt “tried to prevent the disciplinary hearing from happening multiple times” and an RCMP fraud investigation is ongoing.
Cyprus Confidential: The role of PricewaterhouseCoopers
Finally, even though it is not a Canadian story, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has come out with another tale that is well worth reading. Having already broken stories on the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers — investigations that were damaging to the accounting profession — the ICIJ has published a series of articles on the use of Cyprus by Russian oligarchs to avoid the fallout from economic sanctions over Ukraine.
The article, As sanctions loomed, accounting giant PwC scrambled to keep powerful Russians a step ahead, comes with the subtitle “The Big Four firm has served dozens of oligarchs through its Cyprus branch, undermining global efforts to punish Putin’s allies and stymie support for Russia’s war machine.” It even features accounting journalist Francine McKenna, who explains the partnership structure of Big Four firms. Highly recommended.
Quick Hits: Articles of Interest
The key to saving Canada’s economy is tax reform (Globe and Mail)
Will Poilievre help Canadian workers win higher wages? The math shows supporting unions would work better than a tax cut (Toronto Star)
Joint ownership of homes and other assets can lead to unintended problems (Globe and Mail)
Support for the carbon tax is collapsing. An agreeable climate policy? Clean power (Globe and Mail)
EY picks Janet Truncale as the first woman to lead a Big Four firm (Financial Times)
Big Four can continue to dominate, signals UK accounting watchdog (Financial Times)
Deloitte joins fellow Big Four MOVEit victims PWC, EY (Cybernews)
By Canadian Accountant staff.