Tax experts say holding real estate in France could be used to avoid inheritance taxes.
The hits just keep on coming for increasingly-unpopular finance Minister Bill “Moneybags” Morneau.
It turns out that he failed to disclose to the ethics commissioner that he has a corporation which owns a villa in Southern France. While Morneau has since disclosed it – two years late – he only did so after the media started asking questions about it.
As Opposition Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre said, “I guess that he expects us to believe that he’s so rich that he just forgot that he has a private corporation in France and a wonderful villa in Provence. It’s a little hard to believe.”
According to the report, Morneau is a partner in SCI Mas des Morneau. That company owns a villa in the Provence region of France. Nancy McCain – Morneau’s wife – is also a partner in the company. She is a member of the family that owns McCain Foods.
MPs must disclose private companies
Under the law, MPs must disclose any private company they own, regardless of where in the world those companies may be registered. Of course, the maximum fine for MPs who fail to properly disclose their companies is a laughably weak $500. The elites never like to really go after their own.
Morneau’s office is calling the failure “early administrative confusion.”
NDP Ethics Critic Nathan Cullen ripped Morneau, and said the ethics commissioner should “make an example” of Morneau.
“The idea that the finance minister would have failed to disclose to the ethics commissioner and to all Canadians what businesses he actually had is incredibly worrisome,” said Cullen. “This is a big problem for me and I think it’s going to be a problem for a lot of Canadians.”
Inheritance tax avoidance?
While Morneau is not breaking any laws by owning a company that runs a French Villa, there is one especially concerning detail noted in the report:
“Tax experts say there can be some advantages to holding real estate in France through a company such Mas des Morneau, including avoiding inheritance tax.”
It’s not yet known whether Morneau is using the French Villa for that purpose, and Canadians deserve answers. At a time when Morneau tries to talk about “fairness,” his own family fortune is untouched by his dangerous tax changes. Now, if it turns out that he is trying to use another tool available only to super-rich elitists like himself to pay less taxes, it makes his hypocrisy even worse.
Poilievre summed up Morneau’s hypocrisy:
“Here he is storming across the country, lecturing our local businesses and family farmers, calling them tax cheats and saying they should pay more, and meanwhile,, he just forgot to mention that he has a private corporation in France that owns his villa.”
At this point, the only thing Morneau could do to help Canadians is resign.
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